School district drops idea of student smoking area |

School district drops idea of student smoking area

Marlene Garcia

Churchill County School District officials have decided not to create a designated smoking area for Lahontan Valley High School students.

At a school board meeting late last month, Superintendent Carolyn Ross told the board she planned to ask the Churchill County Credit Union across the street from the Old High School to allow a gathering place for the high school students.

She said Monday the idea was dropped after the credit union board nixed the idea.

“They did not want to enter into an agreement,” Ross said. “The board of directors spoke very clearly that they do not want to be part of a smoking area.”

Ross said because the idea was raised and publicized, some alternative high school students gather on credit union property to smoke before class.

“We have increased supervision and are working with (juvenile probation) and the police department,” Ross said.

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She said the district has also abandoned the idea of providing a place for Lahontan Valley High School students to smoke.

“There is no more consideration of that. The kids are not to be smoking and we’re not looking to establish a designated area,” said Ross. “They are on their own.”

The school is requiring smokers to attend smoking cessation classes. Smoking is not allowed on school grounds.

The school district will urge the Nevada Legislature to change current law that makes it illegal for minors to buy tobacco products but does not make it a crime for them to use those products.

Ross said 78 students are currently enrolled in the new high school. The district expected about 60 pupils to attend this year.

The school targets students who are at-risk of not completing high school, and those who cannot be successful in a traditional school setting.

Alternative high schools offer online classes, flexible hours, distance learning and other opportunities to keep teens in school.

“It’s not without struggles. It’s different; it’s new,” Ross said, “but most of the kids would have dropped out.”

The school district decided to offer an alternative high school this year after Gateways to Success Charter School closed down because of financial troubles.

Gateways was established six years ago to address the need for alternative education in Fallon.