New state law to crack down on vaping at Texas public schools

House Bill 114 goes into effect on Sept. 1

SAN ANTONIO – A new state law aims to crack down on vaping in public schools.

Texas lawmakers passed House Bill 114 in the last regular session, which will lead to stricter discipline for students caught vaping or with e-cigarettes, starting on Sept. 1 when it goes into effect.

“Vape pens, nicotine and THC — it’s growing leaps and bounds,” said Northside ISD Police Chief Charlie Carnes.

Carnes said there has been a dramatic increase in vaping cases at NISD campuses over the past two years.

“We’ve gone from approximately 40 cases a month to well over 200 cases a month,” said Carnes.

Toward the end of last semester, Carnes said the district had 300 cases in May alone. KSAT requested case numbers from the area’s two other biggest districts.

North East ISD had 666 THC and 633 nicotine cases for a total of 1,299 last school year. San Antonio ISD did not respond as of Thursday evening.

“I think there are several reasons. It’s harder to detect, and people just not knowing the consequences,” said Carnes.

But those consequences for having a vape pen or e-cigarettes are about to change. House Bill 114 is essentially a one-strike policy for students.

It requires a student to be removed from class and placed in a Disciplinary Alternative Education Program, or DAEP, if the student meets specific criteria, including committing certain actions within 300 feet of school property.

The bill also covers any school-sponsored or school-related activity on or off school property. Students caught selling or under the influence also fall under the new bill.

Carnes hopes parents and students take the new policy seriously.

“Vaping THC is a felony. The new laws of administrative discipline are heavy, and parents need to know — students need to know what they’re up against,” said Carnes.

About the Authors

RJ Marquez is the traffic anchor/reporter for KSAT’s Good Morning San Antonio. He also fills in as a news anchor and has covered stories from breaking news and Fiesta to Spurs championships and high school sports. RJ started at KSAT in 2010. He is proud to serve our viewers and be a part of the culture and community that makes San Antonio great.

Sal Salazar is a photojournalist at KSAT 12. Before coming to KSAT in 1998, he worked at the Fox affiliate in San Antonio. Sal started off his career back in 1995 for the ABC Affiliate in Lubbock and has covered many high-profile news events since. In his free time, he enjoys spending time at home, gaming and loves traveling with his wife.

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