Leander ISD and Liberty Hill ISD students receiving disciplinary action for vaping may be required to attend the Leander Extended Opportunity Center beginning Sept. 1.

What's happening?

A new state law that goes into effect Sept. 1 requires students using, possessing or selling e-cigarettes, marijuana or THC at school, within 300 feet of school property or at a school-related event to attend a disciplinary alternative education program, or DAEP.

Both the Leander and Liberty Hill board of trustees have updated the districts' student codes of conduct to send students to the LEO Center for vaping-related offenses. Prior to the law, students in both districts would attend in school suspension, or ISS, for vaping.

Bryan Miller, LISD executive director of student support, said LEO Center Principal Jeff Strickland created a separate room at the center for these short-term placements. The duration of a student's placement at the LEO Center will be up to the district, LHISD Chief of Schools Travis Motal said.

Also of note

If a DAEP reaches capacity, students may be placed in ISS until a spot opens up, according to the law. Students may also be transferred from a DAEP to ISS if a spot is needed for a student with a more serious offense.

What they're saying

Both Miller and Motal said the LEO Center does not have capacity to accommodate the number of vaping instances their districts have been responding to.

"We don’t have capacity at LEO in order to serve the number of violations that we’re likely to have," Miller said at an Aug. 10 LISD board meeting.

Liberty Hill ISD officials were working to determine if the district could be granted any exceptions to the law as it only has eight to 12 spots for its students at the LEO Center, Motal said.

"Vapes are definitely something that we tackle on a daily basis," Mortal said at a July 17 LHISD board meeting. "There’s just no way that we could send this many kids to DAEP that have vapes.”

Stay tuned

Leander ISD will meet with parents and students to educate them about the new law, Miller said. Liberty Hill ISD plans to send more information out to parents next week, LHISD Director of Communications Rachel Acosta said.

This story will updated as additional details become available.