St. C. passes new policy

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – The St. Clairsville-Richland City School District has gone 100 percent smoke- free. It is the first school district in Belmont County to do so.

This means that adults will not be able to smoke or use smokeless tobacco on campus or at school sponsored events such as football or baseball games and events on campus. To use these products, they will have to leave campus.

“We are always trying to promote a healthy environment for our students so this is another step we can take in order to do that,” St. Clairsville Superintendent Walter Skaggs said. “Adults are the role models and kids look up to them, if they are not smoking or using tobacco on campus, then our kids are going to see that and it will make an impression on them.”

While all schools have some type of policy that bans the use of tobacco products on campus but adults were still using these products on campus and at events. The rationale behind this was is to promote and protect the wellnesses of the students and staff at St. Clairsville schools.

“We are working with the county schools to adopt a 100 percent tobacco school policy,” said Holly Sroka, Public Health Nurse and Healthy Homes Specialist at the Belmont County Health Department. “What makes (the policy) a 100 percent is that it states that there is no tobacco use of any form by anybody, which would include staff, vistors and students, at any time .”

St. Clairsville adopted this policy in July and Union Local adopted the policy in August.

Sroka’s goal is to decrease the number of high school smokers and tobacco users and those who could use tobacco users later on in life. The schools that adopt this policy will receive banners and signs to hang on school grounds and at the stadiums. While several schools are interested in the policy adoption, there are still a few who are hestitant.

“I think (the parents and adults) will be supportive. We have had a lot of positive feedback, so I think the community will embrace it and understand why we are doing it,” said Skaggs.

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