March 7, 2011 - A revision of the Middleown Ohio School District’s smoking and tobacco policy has arguments on both sides of the issue. Matt Teleha, campus administrator at the Butler County Medical Center, backs Middletown schools’ revised smoking and tobacco policies, saying it promotes an overall healthier lifestyle for employees in influential roles.
The revised policies passed last week clarified that smoking was not to take place anywhere on school property — not just inside Middletown buildings. Theoretically, a staff member or parent attending a school event could previously exit the building to smoke outside or in their vehicles. This is no longer the case. Additionally, staff members are not to use smokeless tobacco products of any kind on school grounds.
Board member Chris Fiora was at odds with the policy change over staffers and eventually voted against it. It passed 4-1 on Feb. 28. He argued that if secondhand smoke is a non-factor — as is the case smoking alone — the board shouldn’t be in the practice of regulating school employees’ behavior.
Matt Teleha: “I would think young people would look to teachers to model,” he said. “I would say this is a very good thing.” Teleha added this makes financial sense for the district because those who lead healthier lifestyles generally boast decreased health premiums.
Board member Katie McNeil: “The bottom line is that we’re an educational institution,” she said. “We can’t be hypocrites here — the kids see right through you.”
Reference: School district’s revised smoking policy garners supporters, critics by Andy Sedlak, Staff Writer, Middletown Journal, 3/6/2011.
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