Dear Parent(s)/Guardian(s), 

The Silex R-I School District, like many other schools, has seen a recent spike in incidents involving student vaping. The purpose of this letter is to inform you of the issue, as well as alert you to possible repercussions if your child engages in vaping on school property. We take this issue very seriously due to the negative health effects that vaping can have on our students and often find that our parents are not aware of the risks around vaping. The increase in vaping prompted us to do more research and we want to share our findings with you. 

Vaping is the act of inhaling a vapor produced by an electronic vaporizer or e-cigarette. The vapor can contain nicotine and other substances which is concerning. The liquids that are vaporized come in many different flavors and might even smell fruity. For example, many of the flavors of these liquid concentrates, or ‘vape juices’, are sweet and even have names such as cinnamon roll, marshmallow, grape, strawberry, bubblegum, lemonade, and cookies. 

Vapes/e-cigarettes come in all different shapes. Some common styles we see look like a thick pen, a stylus for an iPad, a flash drive, or a small flask with a round chimney coming off the top. The devices are very small and can easily be hidden on a person or blend in with normal backpack items. Like cigarettes, stores cannot sell vaping items to people under the age of 18. However, students report that they purchase the devices online or buy from older siblings, friends, or unfortunately even parents. 

The Surgeon General reports that nicotine is addictive and can harm brain development, which continues until about age 25. We know that using nicotine may make it harder for school related tasks such as learning and concentration and students may not be aware of the harmful effects of vaping. 

Vaping is prohibited by the Silex School Handbook, which all students and parents/guardians sign off on to acknowledge their understanding of the rules of the Silex School District.  Therefore, any student found to be in possession or using a vape will be subject to consequences outlined in the student handbook. Additionally, the school district authorizes building level administrators to pursue additional consequences as they see necessary. 

We hope you find this letter informative and understand our concerns about this potentially harmful issue. Our goal is to partner with parents to help support our students in making positive decisions for themselves and their future. We encourage you to have a conversation with your child(ren) about this topic. As we learn more, we will certainly share that information.

Thank you for your continued support of our school system. 

Rod Hamlett