HILLSBOROUGH, NJ - Students in possession of tobacco products, including electronic smoking devices, or found smoking or vaping on school grounds will be subject to disciplinary action under a new policy adopted by the The Hillsborough Board of Education.

The update in the policy also includes a revision to the Student Code of Conduct for Hillsborough High School, Hillsborough Middle School, and Auten Road Intermediate School.

The changes to the code of conduct are effective for the return to school following winter recess on Jan. 2, 2018.

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“In recent months the prevalence of electronic smoking devices and the brazenness with which students are using these in the building have increased exponentially due to ease of accessibility and less noticeable odors or smoke,” said Karen Bingert, principal of Hillsborough High School.

“The updates to the Board policy and code of conduct are important, preventative steps to dissuade students from engaging in unhealthy behaviors at school with the goal of encouraging Hillsborough’s youth to make decisions that are in their best interests,” she added.

Based on the updated code of conduct, high school students who are now found in possession of tobacco products, including electronic smoking devices or their cartridges/oils/waxes/components, and/or smoking/vaping while on school grounds will be subject to to a three day in-school suspension and, where permissible by statute, will have a complaint filed against them with the municipal court.

Violators are also subject to incremental fines based on the number of offenses.

Becasue contents of an electronic smoking device are not easily identified and can range from tobacco to a controlled dangerous substance, students found in possession of an electronic smoking device or its components will be considered under suspicion of being under the influence of drugs while at school as would any student in possession of anything that would constitute drug paraphernalia, according to the new guidelines.

Under the code of conduct, if a student is found to be in possession of drug paraphernalia, the school will contact a parent/guardian, who must immediately take the student for a drug screen and physician’s clearance. A positive drug screen or verified possession of drugs or alcohol will result in additional days of in-school suspension - five total days for first offense and 10 total days for each subsequent offense and five mandatory drug counseling sessions with a district Student Assistance Counselor.

Also, the student will be ineligible to participate in all school activities, including senior parking for a minimum of 30 days and pending completion of the required sessions with the SAC.

Working collaboratively, the Hillsborough Board of Education, Hillsborough Township Police Department, municipal government, Hillsborough and Millstone Municipal Alliance, district Life Skills program and school and district administrators agree that the risky behaviors that students may be experimenting with must be curbed with the all the resources available.

Hillsborough Township Public Schools will hold an information night on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018 at 7 p.m. in the Hillsborough High School auditorium. The evening will focus on electronic smoking devices and other things to be on the lookout for to help keep Hillsborough’s children drug-free.