Police Fine And Arrest Students For Vaping: Pay Others To Become Snitches
It is hard to imagine a more sickening thing to do to school kids than to handcuff and arrest them for minor infractions. Watching the above video is infuriating on many levels, not the least of which is the criminal aspect of handcuffing and taking mugshots of school kids.
Did you notice the lack of parental representation or even an attorney being present to inform a child of their rights? To call this practice heartless does not even come close to describing what is going on in a Texas School District.
The Comal Independent School District has taken disciplining school kids for vaping to a whole new level.
A recent article in the Texas Tribune reveals how school officials and the Comal County Sheriff’s Office are offering students $100 to become snitches.
Any adult over age 21 can buy the vapes at this Valero. But if the Comal Independent School District catches one of its students down the road at Smithson Valley High School with a pound cake-flavored vape, they may end up in county jail, facing felony charges that would follow them the rest of their life.
School officials and local law enforcement are attempting to stymie the sometimes dangerous youth vaping craze by drawing a hard line. Students are offered $100 for anonymously reporting classmates with THC vape pens to the police.
What makes their snitch-on-your fellow student campaign so disturbing is school officials and deputies cannot tell the difference between delta-8 or the illegal delta-9 cannabis oils. So why are they encouraging students and faculty to report them?
And since sheriff's deputies assigned to the schools often can tell if a vape pen contains THC, but not whether it’s delta-8 or the illegal delta-9 cannabis oil, they assume the worst, slap on the cuffs and leave it for someone else to figure out.
If teens get caught with vape pens that are proven to contain only delta-8, the worst criminal penalty they would most likely face would be a ticket, similar to getting caught with cigarettes or alcohol.
The Comal Independent School District’s policy of arresting students for vaping cannabis oil has long-term consequences.
Possession of even one illegal THC vape pen can carry a punishment of up to 10 years in prison and a lifelong label that makes it more difficult to get into college, get a job or find housing. Having up to 4 ounces of flower marijuana is a misdemeanor.
In Comal County, deputies have arrested students on felony charges, not knowing what their vape pens actually contained.
Police drug testing kits cannot tell the difference between delta-8 or delta-9 cannabis oil calling it a “presumptive positive that provides the probable cause for an arrest.”
School resource officers also don’t care if they arrest an innocent student who now has an arrest record for drug possession that will follow them into their adult lives.
Once a student is arrested, the Comal County sheriff’s office says it is up to the student to prove that a THC pen is legal, it is not up to the school to prove it is illegal.
Here’s an idea: let’s create a punitive system of justice that arrests students for vaping what could be legal delta-8 cannabis oils and place their bail[s] at $5,000 or more. That sounds fair, doesn’t it?
If a student’s parents cannot afford to post their child’s bail they are sent to a juvenile corrections facility and treated like criminals for the crime of vaping.
School districts across Texas seem hell-bent on treating students caught vaping like criminals.
Every school district has its own approach to handling the increase in vaping and THC. In the school district just south of Comal ISD in North San Antonio, a Northeast ISD spokesperson said school police file reports on students caught with THC vape pens only if they have multiple pens. Even then, they don’t typically make arrests, leaving it up to the district attorney to decide whether those kids should be arrested or face criminal charges later.
In Round Rock, north of Austin, an official said the district has tried to handle THC offenses without seeking criminal charges, except in cases in which students are suspected of selling or distributing the substance. But Aaron Grigsby, a former Round Rock ISD police officer and Department of Public Safety captain, said the district police department required him to file felony reports against students caught with vape pens, even though they could have contained delta-8.
School kids ratting out fellow students for a $100 dollars or more can have devastating consequences for those victimized by this for-profit turn in your classmate scheme.
The New Braunfels/Comal County “Crime Stoppers” tip line has paid out at least $251,000 in cash rewards so far. To put that into perspective, imagine 2,510 students and faculty calling in tips about students vaping or doing something else police officers can charge them with.
The Comal County Crime Stoppers website reveals that students and teachers can make up to $4,000 for every tip they give to police.
Crime Stoppers pays a CASH reward of up to $4,000 to anyone who provides information that leads law enforcement to the arrest and/or grand jury indictment of those involved in or wanted for a crime. When you contact Crime Stoppers, you remain anonymous and are given a code number that is used for payment of the reward. Your identity is never revealed and you have no further involvement in the case.
Police are paying people to make anonymous crime tips for “drugs, graffiti and alcohol related violations” which seems aimed at students.
What happens when students start calling in anonymous tips over a jilted lover or a student who’s mad at someone calls in an anonymous tip to the police? When do teachers start calling in anonymous tips over a student’s disrespectful comments? Imagine the temptation struggling students and teachers have knowing that they can make upwards of $4,000 for anonymously calling in a tip to the police.
The Comal County Crime Stoppers is a non-profit run by volunteer citizens who have paid out rewards of an eye-opening $251,000. Those volunteer citizens appear to be only to happy to turn students into paid informants.
Crime Stoppers also reaches into local schools within the Comal Independent School District and the New Braunfels Independent School District, giving students at the district’s middle schools and high schools a way to report criminal activity (like drugs, weapons, and tobacco) on campus.
Schools and police departments across the country are fining and arresting students for vaping.
The Daphne High School in Alabama and the Lehigh Senior High School in Florida arrest school kids for vaping. While the Tyler Independent School District in Texas charged 65 students with a felony this year.
About sixty-five students have been charged with a felony for having a vape with THC oil inside while on a Tyler ISD campus so far during the 2022-23 academic year, according to the school district.
School districts across Texas are charging kids with a felony for vaping, while police in Michigan, Illinois, Idaho, Indiana, Alabama and Muskego WI, fine school kids up to $500 dollars.
In Illinois, school kids caught vaping must complete 50 hours of community service and pay fines of $200 dollars. In Michigan, students caught vaping must complete 48 hours of community service and pay fines of $50 for each violation.
A middle school in Oklahoma, strip-searched a 14-year-old girl because she was suspected of hiding a nicotine vape.
The 14-year-old girl was accused of having a nicotine vape pen at the school and was subjected to a strip search on May 10, 2021, in a room with an uncovered window that has a clear view to general access areas of the school.
How do police and school officials justify turning student vaping into a for-profit marketing scheme? How do they justify profiting from strip-searching students or treating students them like criminals for vaping?
How long will it take for schools and law enforcement to do the same thing for say, texting in class or making TikTok videos? It is hard not to see how fining and arresting students for vaping is expanding the school to prison pipeline.
Image credit: Comal County Anonymous Tips