A large number of public high school students in the Houston area have been sent to disciplinary centers under a new Texas law aimed at curbing underage smoking. However, the punishment has raised questions from critics who say it does not match the crime.
According to the Houston Chronicle, a large number of public middle school students in the Houston area are being sent to disciplinary centers because of a new law in Texas aimed at curbing underage smoking. However, the punishment has raised questions from critics who say it does not match the crime.
SB114, which went into effect on Sep 1 last year, requires public schools to send students who are caught using vapes to disciplinary centers, which are set up for students with serious problems. The bill classifies possession of e-cigarettes on campus as the same level of punishment as felonies such as bringing a gun to school, terrorist threats, and violent assault.
According to data compiled by the Houston Chronicle application, more than 1,300 students in Houston’s five largest districts were penalized this year, most of whom were sent to candidate schools. The law allows students in the Political Disciplinary Education Program (DAEP) to temporarily stop learning outside or on campus if capacity is insufficient.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 2.1 million students reported using e-cigarettes in 2023, and the products are highly addictive and potentially harmful.
Critics of the new law, including school administrators, parents, and advocates, have argued that the penalties are too harsh and inflexible and that the quality of students’ passage through treatment and treatment measures will be higher. Texas State Assemblyman Thompson, who sponsored the bill, said it aims to get children out of the criminal justice system and noted that the number of smokers in Brazoria County has declined since the law was passed.
In addition, he also introduced the measure after he learned that some colleges and law enforcement agencies in Brazoria County were consuming vapes. Many students in the district are referred to the criminal justice system for using or selling e-cigarettes that contain smoke tar or marijuana, he said.
He hopes the bill will give schools a chance to deal with these students internally and “make these kids feel the fear of God,” rather than drain the county’s resources. He also wants to stop children from getting criminal records for “stupid decisions”.