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Outraged Mom Criticizes School for Confiscating Son’s E-Cigarette

When 14-year-old Mason Dunn was spotted with an e-cigarette at school, teachers confiscated the device. Now his mother is outraged and publicly criticized school officials for their disciplinary actions. Mason’s mother, Sue, said that she bought her son the ecig to help him stop smoking. After his father died, Mason started smoking at age 12. While his mother initially did not know about his cigarette habit, she eventually found out a year later and decided to buy him the ecig to help him quit. Before he started vaping, the teen was smoking 10 cigarettes per day.

Dunn said she had approached her son’s teachers about the issue and explained that she had bought the ecig for her son to try to deter him from using cigarettes. She informed school officials that Mason would not be using the ecig in front of other students.

But when teachers spotted Mason with the ecig on school property, they confiscated it. The principal explained that the school is a non-smoking zone and he has a “duty of care” to stop children from smoking. The principal met with the teen and his mother and enlisted the school nurse to also help with the situation. Still, Dunn said she isn’t happy with how the school handled the issue.

“I am not happy about the fact that he smokes in the first place, but we have tried everything to help him stop,” she explained. “We have tried patches and have been to the doctor, but nothing worked, so my eldest son bought him an e-cigarette and it has helped him stop smoking cigarettes. He has really made an effort.”

Dunn said the school refused to allow him to use the ecig, claiming it was against the no smoking policy. “He came home from school in a terrible state, because he needed nicotine. We have tried to wean him off the e-cigarettes as well, but it is helping. If it helps to prevent people from developing cancer at a later stage, I think it should be allowed.”

During summer break, Mason had completely quit smoking cigarettes with the help of his ecig, but now that he can’t vape at school, he is back to sneaking cigarettes. “It feels like the school don’t want me to stop smoking,” Mason said. “It is really irritating because they shout at me when I have got a cigarette and tell me to stop and then when I try to quit, they tell me to stop doing that as well. It is really hard and I don’t know what to do next.”

Principal Suzanne Pountain insisted that ecigs were simply not allowed. “Kearsley Academy is a no-smoking site. We have a duty of care to our students to reinforce this and discourage them from doing so. As a healthy school we encourage students to lead healthy lifestyles and to make healthy choices.”

Pountain explained that the school would support Mason in his choice to stop smoking, but they would not allow him to vape on campus. “We offer students access to the school nurse and if necessary pathways such as smoke cessation program, if this is needed. We will continue to work with and support Mason within the guidelines of our policy. For the safeguarding of all our students, smoking, including the use of any nicotine inhalation devices, are not allowed.”

Do you think Dunn has a right to be angry at the school? Should the school allow Mason to use his ecig on campus?

Electronic Cigarettes • April 5, 2017

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