Board Considers New Vaping Protocol

Board of Education, Community, Education

WHITE COUNTY, Ga.- High School Principal Mary Anne Collier along with her vice principal Adam Wiley, Middle Principal Nara Allen, and Warrior Academy Director Shelly McDonald brought before the board a new vaping protocol for their consideration.

Assistant Superintendent Scott Justus gave the board a current update on the construction projects that are currently in the works. Superintendent Dr. Laurie Burkett gave the board an update on the number of students they have so far that will be attending summer school.

Collier gave a brief presentation on the dangers of vaping not only for developing children but for anyone coming into contact with the devices. In her presentation, she mentioned how kids are no longer just vaping nicotine but also other drugs such as THC and Marijuana that the school staff are unable to identify on-site.

Sheriff Rick Kelley also spoke about the use of drugs in vapes. He told the board that THC vaping is considered a felony under state law. His officers are not currently charging minors found in possession of vapes opting to call parents instead but he did say that he is open to the possibility of changing that if it needs to be handled differently.

Sheriff Rick Kelley while addressing the board concerning the drug problems the country is dealing with.

Kelley did say that the Champs instructors are going to classes this summer and it is his belief that they will be adding more instruction on vapes into the program moving forward. Champs is a drug and alcohol awareness program taught every year to fifth-grade students.

The schools presently use a three-strike system for vaping incidents. Strike one is three days of in-school suspension, a mandatory class on vaping, and the device not being returned to the student. Strike two is three days of out-school suspension, the mandatory class again, and the device not being returned. In strike three the student is sent to Warrior Academy for a full semester.

The proposed new protocol would be a two-strike system. Strike one would be three days of out-school suspension, and if a high school student is a driver is will lose their parking spot for 20 days and the device will not be returned. Strike two would be an alternative school such as Warrior Academy and a mandatory vape education class taught by Warrior Academy.

“I think the parking thing is awesome, just the mindset of humanity in this day and age punishment, a fine, whatever may be a deterrent, inconvenience is an unbelievable deterrent. The reality of that is the kid is minimally inconvenienced is the parent, creating some positive peer pressure from home might be pretty powerful,” stated board member Jon Estes.

This is currently not a protocol that the board will have to vote on. Instead, if they approve then the principals can start rolling this out next school year. There will be more information provided by the school system throughout the summer on this policy as well as being in the student handbook next semester. To view the current policy or any of the policies in the high school handbook visit

Justus’s report on the construction projects began with the roof and HVAC project that will take place at Tesnatee Gap this summer. The materials for the roof part of the project are on the second day of the delivery process. The HVAC materials are expected to be delivered on Apr. 31. The work is set to start on May 31 weather providing.

The new transportation building is underway. The site work is at 65% complete. The concrete foundation will be poured the week of May 16 and the metal building is expected to go in place on June 24.

This is how the football field looked on Monday, Apr. 25.

The football field is 85% complete. The infill process will begin on May 3. That is something to help keep the field cooler. Once the infill process is complete the goal post will be installed and the long jump will be replaced after graduation.

The performing arts center will go out for bid on May 12 at the Charles Black Construction Office. The construction company is currently working on a preliminary budget to present to the board.

Burkett’s reported that for summer school so far there are about 75 middle school students. 100 maybe a little more high school students. The elementary schools will be grouped together Jack P. Nix and Tesnatee Gap, and Mt. Yonah and Mossy Creek. There are about 150 kids per elementary site.

The system will be providing buses and both breakfast and lunch for the students that are attending. They are using CARES III money to provide this for the students.

The board will be meeting for their regular meeting Thursday, Apr. 28 at 6:00 p.m. To review the agenda for that meeting visit

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