Board of Education approves expedited rules to allow Utah schools to confiscate vaping devices

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah State Board of Education is expediting rules to allow schools to confiscate e-cigarette devices if students have them on campus, and that rule could take effect as early as January 8.

The development comes out of the USBE Board Meeting held Thursday.

A meeting summary indicates the expedited rules come in response to a “dramatic increase” in student use of vaping devices.

The new rules would allow schools to confiscate e-cigarette devices found in student possession on campus, and require schools to update policies on searching students for controlled substances to include such devices.

The board also discussed potential legislation with Utah House Rep. Susan Pulsipher, R-South Jordan, “that would, among other provisions, add an e-cigarette component to substance abuse prevention programs and potentially provide stipends to schools that create positive behavior plans for students.”

The summary states that schools had sought clarification on vaping products, since they do not have the resources to determine if the devices contain a legal substance, like nicotine, or a controlled substance like THC.

The new rules would allow schools to turn devices over to law enforcement if they suspect an illegal substance is being used. The summary notes that while Utah has a medical marijuana law, e-cigarettes are not approved delivery devices for medical marijuana.

Because the rules are expedited, they could go into effect as early as January 8, 2020.

“USBE staff is working on updated model policies for schools on both search and confiscation,” the summary states. “The model policies should be available before the rules go into effect.”

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