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Council of School Councils discusses the dangers of vaping

The Peace River School Division’s Council of School Councils met at Central Office in Grimshaw on Tuesday, December 12.

Approximately 30 people attended the meeting including the PRSD Board of Trustees, Superintendent Adam Murray, principals from several PRSD schools, and parent council representatives from several PRSD schools.

Annual Education Results Report

The meeting began with a presentation by Superintendent Murray on the 2022-2023 Annual Education Results Report. During that presentation, Murray shared encouraging reports on student progress using report card data, as well as Provincial Achievement Test scores and Diploma Exam results in both literacy and numeracy.

An area of concern for the Division, explained Murray, remains student attendance. According to 2022-2023 data just under 10 per cent of PRSD non-Indigenous students and nearly 30 per cent of Indigenous students attended school less than 75 per cent of the time.

“If a student is attending school less than a quarter of the time, in four years, they have missed an entire year of school,” Murray said.

Looking to the high school data and graduation rates, Murray also concluded that PRSD data shows the longer a student stays with the PRSD, the more successful they become. For this reason alone, Murray encouraged the principals and school council members present to work on strategies to improve attendance rates at every PRSD school.


The dangers of Vaping

Following Murray’s presentation, Tammy Novak, Alberta Health Services health promotion facilitator, spoke to the council of school councils about the dangers of vaping. In addition to covering the basics of why vaping is considered less harmful than cigarettes for adults but not harmless, Novak emphasized the fact that vaping was never intended for youth and non-smokers. However, by using glamorized advertising and flavoured vaping liquid the vaping industry has caught the attention of youth.

“Youth see smoking as dirty, gross and smelly, but they don’t see the same things with vaping,” she said.

Novak’s presentation spurred significant and productive conversation amongst those present. Representatives from Peace River and Fairview high schools shared their experiences with vape sensors in school washrooms. At Peace High particularly, the vape sensors have been successful in discouraging students from using the washrooms to vape, which in turn has made the washrooms feel like a safer place to the rest of the student body.

When asked by a school council representative what the Division’s policy is regarding the use of vaping products on school property, Murray explained that the Division maintains the opinion that vaping liquid is a substance and it is being abused. As a result, students found vaping on school property, which includes busses, do have their vaping paraphernalia confiscated and are then often suspended, either with an in-school suspension, or out-of-school suspension.

Following a time of sharing various successes at each PRSD school, the meeting was adjourned. The Council of School Councils meets twice a year. The next meeting will be held sometime in the Spring of 2024.

Dec 13, 2023 Council of School Councils

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