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Vaping, bus stops among changes mulled for student code of conduct

Board expected to vote on updates to conduct code at next meeting

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Several proposed changes have been presented to the Duval County Public Schools Code of Student Conduct for the 2019-20 school year, including potential adjustments to categories like bus stops and vaping. 

At a workshop Wednesday, the School Board was presented with a five-page report of the proposed changes. 

There are dozens of proposed revisions to the Code of Student Conduct, from trespassing and alcohol to sexual assault and vandalism. 

Some of the new language involves adding the words “vape” and “vaping products” to part of the code that discusses use, possession, distribution or sale of tobacco and nicotine products. The current language mentions several types of products, including, but not limited to, cigarettes, cigars and snuff. Vaping products are not part of the current code. 

READ: Full list of proposed changes

The proposed change would add vaping products, as well as adding the word sharing alongside using. With the proposed change, a student would face consequences not only for using one of these products at school but also for sharing, even if the student didn’t use it. 

The added language would also include the fact that in the state of Florida, using any of the prohibited tobacco or nicotine products is against the law if under the age of 18. 

Another area that could be changed involves types of technology and devices used to record a fight between students or to record a school board employee. The current language includes devices like cameras and cellphones, but with advancements in technology, the proposed change would add smart watches/cameras and smart technology. 

Jurisdiction of the Code of Student Conduct could be altered to include the county’s more than 5,000 bus stops. 

Currently, bus stops are not included in the jurisdiction. It now is in effect during the school day, at regular school-sponsored activities, during transportation on school buses, school-sponsored events, field trips and more. 

The proposed change would mean bus stop corners are now part of the School Board’s jurisdiction, meaning if something happens at the bus stop, it becomes a School Board issue. 

The district said its school police department can work with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, but it would be the district’s jurisdiction, therefore an incident at a bus stop would be handled the same way it would if it happened on a school campus. 

Another proposed change includes adding cutting of hair, which currently isn’t mentioned anywhere, to the harassment portion of the Code of Conduct. The district said it had a couple of instances last school year of hair cutting, including a student cutting the hair of the person sitting in front of them.  

The board is expected to vote on the proposed changes at a July meeting.