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Campus goes tobacco free

The final refuge of tobacco users and vapers on the Washington County Career Center campus has been eliminated. The center’s board of education Thursday night approved a policy change that would make the campus tobacco- and vape-free.

“The time has come for us to become tobacco, vape, Juul, e-cigarette, dank, totally smoke-free campus,” superintendent Dennis Blatt said as the policy proposal was presented to the board. “It’s one of the biggest issues schools are dealing with, and if we care about our students we need to do this.”

The policy passed unanimously as part of a package of changes and new policies.

Blatt said after the meeting the campus had been close to 100 percent tobacco and vape free already, but smoking had been allowed for adult technical students in their vehicles.

“We wanted to do away with that a couple years ago, but there was some resistance,” Blatt said.

The board also authorized a new policy setting out rules on the use of small unmanned aircraft systems, or drones. Blatt said the policy, using guidance from educational consulting firm Neola, was seen as necessary because drones are being used on campus for aerial video and photography by the graphic design students.

Thursday night’s meeting began with a presentation by Paul Mock, southeastern regional manager for the Ohio School Boards Association, to the family of Rod Hineman, a highly regarded Belpre teacher and school board member who died Aug. 25 at the age of 73. Mock gave a certificate from the OSBA marking Hineman’s 20 years of service to the organization to Hineman’s widow, Kay, and his daughter and son-in-law, Kimberly and Tom Weiner.

Belpre board of education member Fred Meredith spoke briefly about Hineman, who in addition to his board service had been a teacher in Belpre City Schools since 1973 and served on the career center board.

“He taught me in 1976 at Belpre, he mentored me on the board, and I appreciated his wisdom,” Meredith said. “There won’t be another Rod Hineman.”

Blatt also remembered Hineman.

“Rod changed the lives of thousands of people; he helped me personally. He had a passion and understood his purpose, he was all about giving back,” Blatt said. “It was a blessing for him to have been on our board. He was a kind man, a great person and a good friend.”

In other matters, the board:

¯ Approved the five-year financial forecast from treasurer Joe Crone

¯ Authorized the treasurer to enter a one-year contract with Life and Purpose Behavioral Health for services, using $45,000 from the Student Wellness and Success Fund, a new state government initiative.

The board is scheduled to meet next at 6 p.m. Nov. 14.

Michael Kelly can be contacted at mkelly@mariettatimes.com.

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