Aledo ISD will be hosting a Parenting University vaping presentation at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Aledo High School to help educate parents about teen vaping and e-cigarette use.

“Aledo ISD is excited to welcome parents to have an important conversation about the problem of teenage vaping,” AISD Executive Director of Student Services Scott Kessel said. “The session will provide parents with relevant information and opportunities to learn and collaborate on how best to prevent and intervene as necessary.”

The presentation, Parenting Through the Haze: The Reality of Teen Vaping and E-Cigarette Use, was initially going to be held in April but was canceled because of a round of severe storms that came through the area.

“We feel like we really need to be partners with parents in attacking this issue — it’s incredibly significant because our students are vaping and we know they are,” AISD Superintendent Susan K. Bohn said. “We don’t want them vaping at all and more of them are vaping than we want, so we would love for all of our parents to turn out. We typically don’t have a really good turnout for parenting universities. We’re not able to videotape it and put it online or anything, so we would love for people to come to see that.”

The guest speaker will be John Haenes, chief operations officer of Tarrant County Challenge, a non-profit agency with a mission to confront substance abuse by identifying needs, educating the community, mobilizing resources, promoting collaborations and advocating for sound public policy.

“Haenes is a licensed master’s level social worker and an international certified prevention specialist with 22 years of experience with substance abuse issues, juvenile delinquency and child welfare issues,” according to the Tarrant County Challenge website. “Mr. Haenes is a recognized expert in addiction and adolescent brain development and served as the deputy assistant director for specialized programs at Tarrant County Juvenile Services.”

Earlier this month, Texas recorded its first death associated with vaping-related lung illness, according to the Associated Press. The Texas Department of State Health Services confirmed that an older woman in North Texas died from a lung disease associated with using electronic cigarettes. The agency also said the state has identified 95 other cases of lung illnesses linked to vaping.

DSHS said the illnesses can affect patients as young as 13, with a median age of 22. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed more than 1,000 reports of probable vaping illnesses nationwide.

The AISD board of trustees unanimously approved a new vaping policy within the district’s student code of conduct in August.

“Vaping is here and it’s truly a problem,” AISD Deputy Superintendent Lynn McKinney said at a previous board meeting. “I can tell you I was amazed one day when I went over to the high school to talk to Mr. [Dan] Peterson [principal] and he literally pulled out a cardboard box that was full of 30 to 40 different devices found.”

The policy includes consequences like ISS, vaping awareness curriculum and DAEP for first, second and third-time offenses.

“Vaping has become more and more of a challenge facing schools locally and nationally, and Aledo ISD has taken a proactive position to make consequences for vaping consistent across all levels,” Kessel said. “The new district practice also includes an emphasis on providing educational programs for students and parents in an effort to increase awareness of the risks and dangers.”

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