NASHUA — During the 2018-19 school year, there were more than 250 reports of students vaping on school property throughout the city.
New data highlighting vaping trends, arrests at city schools and reports of vulgar language from students have been handed over to school officials after members of the Board of Education requested the information.
According to a memo from Donna Fitzpatrick, Nashua’s assistant superintendent for secondary education, there were 256 vaping incidents reported throughout the district last school year, with 90 occurring at Nashua High School North, 93 at Nashua High School South, 19 at Elm Street Middle School, 33 at Fairgrounds Middle School and 21 at Pennichuck Middle School.
Fitzpatrick said several steps are being taken by the district to curb student vaping, including presentations at the schools and incorporating the subject into the health curriculum.
“As part of athletic preseason meetings, both student-athletes and parents are educated about the health dangers of vaping and consequences for student-athletes when they are caught vaping,” she stated.
In addition, Fitzpatrick said the school board could consider the use of a vaping device as a more serious student infraction if it desires. Currently, teachers handle vaping offenses, which often do not require intervention from administrators.
However, she said vaping offenses could be changed to a significant violation of the student behavior standards, meaning a building administrator would be directly involved with the disciplinary action.
Dotty Oden, a member of the Nashua Board of Education, said earlier that city students are vaping throughout the day at the two high schools, and middle school students are also being introduced to it.
“We have a serious vaping problem at our two high schools,” she said, maintaining many parents do not understand or are unaware of the impact vaping can have on the teens’ health.
While there were 90 incidents involving vaping at Nashua High School North, those reports involved 78 students, or about 4.4 percent of the school population. Similarly, the 93 incidents at Nashua High School South involved 81 students, or 4.2 percent of the school population.
Also included in the new data report was the number of students arrested this past year at city schools. Overall, there were 22 student arrests — seven at Nashua North, 10 at Nashua South, two at Elm Street Middle School, two at Pennichuck Middle School and one at Fairgrounds Middle School.
The arrests included charges of marijuana possession, disorderly conduct, assault, threatening staff, drugs and resisting arrest.
There were 292 reports of students using obscene language or gestures, with 72 incidents at Nashua North, 46 at Nashua South, 73 at Elm Street Middle School, 82 at Fairgrounds Middle School and 19 at Pennichuck Middle School.
“When a student swears directly at a staff member it results in an out-of-school suspension. This is non-negotiable,” states the memo.
Some of the data will be discussed Thursday when the board’s policy committee meets at 6 p.m. Thursday at Nashua High School North.