Dalton (GA) - The Whitfield County School Board voted to revise the school district's tobacco policy for both students and staff at their monthly meeting last evening. With a 4-0 vote (one board member was absent), the verbiage in the policy now better reflects the actual procedures that have been followed in the school system for many years. Under the new policy, no student, staff member or school visitor is permitted to use any tobacco product at any time on school property or at school events. The revised policy also bans the use of electronic cigarettes, better known as e-cigarettes.*
The school board began considering changing the policy several weeks ago when Girl Scout Brownie Troop 12617 of New Hope Elementary School, assisted by the North Georgia Health District, made an appeal to School Superintendent Dr. Judy Gilreath to "make Whitfield County Schools recognized as a Georgia model 100 percent tobacco-free school district." The troop attended the school board meeting last evening to provide a presentation to the board prior to the vote.
"Although Whitfield County Schools has been a tobacco free system since 2001," said Dr. Gilreath, "the revised policy will bring us more in line with the state criteria required in order to be officially designated by the state as tobacco free. It is so encouraging to see this young troop of girls actively involved in making our community healthier for all of us. Troop 12617 and their adult leaders are to be commended for leading this effort."
The North Georgia Health District will support the schools' tobacco-free policy by providing signage and an education campaign.
To view the most current list of Georgia school districts that are officially recognized by the Georgia Department of Public Health as 100% tobacco-free schools, please click here: District with 100% TFS Policy. To view a model 100% tobacco-free school policy template for school districts in Georgia, please log onto Model Policy for School Districts.
*Please refer to Georgia Department of Public Health article: CDC, Poison Center Warn of E-Cigarette Dangers