SMITHVILLE, MO (KCTV) -- A drug policy is front and center in the Smithville School District.
The district is considering a new drug screening policy for students, and at this point in the process, everything is on the table, including nicotine.
The Smithville School District has about 2,700 students. School officials have been working for the past year on a drug policy to keep each one of them safe and healthy.
Smithville Superintendent Todd Schuetz said people are emotional on both sides of the drug testing debate.
“It’s very much a charged conversation, but it’s a good conversation because we’re talking about kids and the safety of our students,” Schuetz said.
Schuetz said they don’t even have a draft yet of the testing policy. They’re still in the research phase. He said the option to test for tobacco use is still up in the air.
“I don’t have an interest in recommending a test for nicotine. I’m not even recommending random student drug testing, at this point in time. I’m recommending that we study the issue,” Schuetz said.
Some Smithville parents said schools going beyond drug testing athletes is a step too far.
“That’s way too much for me, as a parent. I wouldn’t like that for my child. That’s something I could handle on my own. I don’t need the school doing it for me,” Melissa Hickman, parent, said.
Other people don’t see a problem with monitoring teenagers in school.
“It’s illegal. They shouldn’t have nicotine, so I think that’s good, if we can test for it, maybe they’ll cut down on it a little if they know they can’t or not supposed to have it,” Carmen Smith, nurse, said.
The U.S. Surgeon General said in 2018, 3.6 million teenagers used e-cigarettes. That includes one in five high schoolers, and one in twenty middle schoolers. The CDC said tobacco affects learning, memory and attention in young people.
The Smithville School Board meets Wednesday to discuss a possible policy. None of the other districts KCTV5 reached out to Tuesday got back.
Raytown, Belton and Excelsior Springs all have drug policies, but nicotine is not included.
On the other side of the Stateline, the Kansas Board of Education also wants to curb the use of vapes and e-cigarettes.
It announced a state-wide anti-vaping campaign last week.