Dear Morris School District Community,

As you may know, building and sustaining a healthy community district wide has been a well-defined priority of the Morris School District for the past two years ; my superintendent communications have included information about such topics as safety and security, digital wellness, and strengthening literacy habits at home.  

The purpose of the present communication is to detail how our district has responded to the rising incidence of teen vaping--a serious national problem from which Frelinghuysen Middle School and Morristown High School are not immune.  Specifically, I want to share with you the measures we already have in place, as well as upcoming initiatives we are developing and refining throughout the year that will make our approach even stronger. I feel confident that our response is comprehensive, evidence-based, and aligned with our district's mission to provide the safest, healthiest, most constructive educational experience possible for all of our students.
First, I encourage you to consult these publications from the CDC and Surgeon General for some basic information about vaping--what it involves, why teenagers have become especially susceptible to its abuse, and why it poses significant health risks for them.  The prevalence of teen vaping cuts across demographic groups and geographic locations. Every school system in our country, whether public or private, is now facing the question of how to address what can be a highly addictive and dangerous activity ( see NY Times article on the escalating occurrence of teen vaping).  Our administrators have been working in partnership with colleagues in other districts and with health experts to better understand relevant trends in student behavior and to share best practices in prevention and response so that we can approach all sides of the issue with sound deliberation.
So far this current school year, Frelinghuysen Middle School and Morristown High School have reported approximately one to two vaping incidents per week, on average.  Please note that our restrooms are monitored throughout the day, and entrance is controlled during lunchtime to maximize safety.  When students are caught using or possessing vaping substances or instruments, we adhere to the protocols established in our Student Code of Conduct and our Board of Education policy .  NJ State law requires us to report to the police any student caught using or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  Students who are caught smoking or vaping nicotine are not referred to the police but are held accountable to the disciplinary measures outlined in our Student Code of Conduct.
Because we are an institution dedicated foremost to the education and well-being of our students, our approach is to focus heavily on prevention, intervention, and support.  To this end, our health curriculum and student programming are designed to help our students understand the harmful effects of vaping and the seriousness of addiction, and to discourage the use of tobacco products or dangerous controlled substances of any sort.  In concert with these ongoing efforts, over the last two years, we have also initiated the following:

Parent Presentation at FMS on 3/7