McKinney ISD officials have updated the district’s policy for vaping—which previously required all students caught with a vaping device to spend 15 days in the district’s Disciplinary Alternative Education Program.

The board of trustees amended policy at a March 1 special meeting.

In case you missed it

House Bill 114, which went into effect in September, requires students be placed in a district's DAEP if a student possesses, sells, gives, delivers or uses an electronic cigarette at or within 300 feet of school property. MISD's board of trustees added the new rule to the student code of conduct for the 2023-24 school year Aug. 28.

Students caught with a device were subject to a mandatory placement in the DAEP. If the DAEP was at capacity at the time a student is being placed for conduct related to marijuana, THC or an e-cigarette, the student would be placed in in-school suspension, also known as ISS.

Sorting out details

The new vaping policy has placed hardships on campus administrators, said Michael Winters, MISD’s senior director of administrative services.

The DAEP has reached capacity, and students who should be placed for e-cigarette usage are being placed in in-school suspension or out-of-school suspension. This has affected campuses’ ability in delivering quality instruction and engaging learning experiences, he said.

In the 2022-23 school year, students who received their first offense of vaping were placed in in-school suspension, while second offense students received out-of-school suspension, and third offenses resulted in DAEP placement, Winters said.

Under the state law, placements in the district’s DAEP for e-cigarette offenses have increased 1,075% from the 2022-23 school year to 2023-24, according to district data.
The action taken

Consequences for students who have their first offense of e-cigarette use will be made on a case-by-base basis starting the fourth quarter of school year, said Jennifer Akins, MISD's senior director of guidance and counseling. This will only apply to e-cigarette offenses that did not involve THC or other controlled substances, according to the amended policy.

“We hope by allowing our administrators to consider the circumstances ... will enable us to not only provide support to families when something occurs but also ensure that we’re intervening in a way that actually helps our students to not have repeat offenses so that they can move forward and get the best access to education while maintaining the services they need to be successful academically,” Akins said.

MISD can choose to not follow the new Texas Education Agency policy as it is considered a District of Innovation, Akins said. District of Innovation status allows school districts to be more flexible and have local control to meet the needs of its students, according to MISD’s website. This allows districts to obtain exemptions from the Texas Education Code.