JCPS’ Smoke-Free, Tobacco-Free District Policy Begins Now

Jefferson County Public Schools joins the minority of Kentucky school districts that have implemented a district-wide smoke-free policy.

The policy was passed by the JCPS school board last year and is now in effect.

JCPS Spokesman Ben Jackey says the district wants to set a good example for students and faculty and says it will disallow anyone from smoking at all school facilities at any time. The JCPS policy will also extend to field trips and school parking lots.

“It also makes sure that parents, visitors, cannot smoke either during school time, school hours or at school events, things like a football game, a baseball game,” he says.

Officials say while the policy is not meant to be punitive, violation will be handled on an individual basis and in repeated offenses, progressive discipline may begin.

“JCPS did a great job of communicating the new policy to personnel and visitors, including a notice on their website, media coverage and plenty of signs around school buildings,” said Elizabeth Anderson-Hoagland with the Kentucky Department for Public Health in an email.

There are 28 Kentucky school districts that have some form of a tobacco policy in place, according to the department’s website tracking smoke-free school districts. The public health department has minimum requirements in order to be included on the list, such as extending the 100 percent smoke-free policy across the entire district on all campuses. 

Only a few states have a law in place requiring all schools to be smoke-free, says Hoagland. Included on that list is North Carolina, which has provided studies showing the positive effects of such policies when compared to schools without them.

Here is a Q and A provided by JCPS: 

Is the new policy just for employees?

No. The policy is for everyone—parents, students, and visitors as well as district employees—when they are on JCPS property.

Will JCPS schools or offices have smoking areas for adults?

No. Smoking will be completely prohibited not only in JCPS facilities and vehicles but also on all district grounds.

Will the policy prohibit smoking after school hours?

Yes. Smoking and other forms of tobacco use will be prohibited 24/7.

Will smoking be allowed at outdoor school events?

No. Smoking will be prohibited even at such outdoor events as football games—even in the parking lot.

Can adults smoke if they are away from school on field trips?

No. Adults will not be allowed to use tobacco products when students are present even if they are away from school property.

Will the new policy apply to community groups that use JCPS facilities?

Yes. Members of community groups will not be allowed to use tobacco products on JCPS property even after school hours.

Devin Katayama

Devin Katayama host middays for WFPL and reports on education and other Louisville issues.

@DevinWFPL

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