Murray Schools to be tobacco free

Murray Independent Schools will be completely tobacco-free following a decision by board members at during a special-called session this week.

The board also chose to phase in a recommended plan for “end of course” exams.

Murray Independent School building

Murray Independent School building

MISD board Chairman Richard Crouch, Vice-Chairman Stuart Alexander and members Mark Vinson, Laura Pitman and Donnie Winchester voted during a meeting Wednesday to adopt a policy recommended by the Kentucky Department of Education and the Kentucky Department of Public Health to ban all use of tobacco on school grounds by administration, teachers and staff beginning Jan. 1, 2012. The district already has restrictions against tobacco use by students.

“We decided to pass it and make if effective January 1,” Rogers said. “For our employees that use tobacco, that will give them a few months to try to quit smoking. We’re going to devise a program to assist them in that if they need some assistance.”

The district’s insurance will not pay for nicotine patchs and gum, but will help with prescriptions that aid smokers.

The new guidelines apply to smoking, chewing and all types of tobacco use. Previously, teachers and staff were allowed to smoke, but only in designated areas.

In other action, the board passed a state-mandated policy relating to end-of-course exams beginning next year in four courses.

“The state had recommended that the exams count 20 percent of the final grade for that subject, but our board decided

to phase that in by counting them 10 percent in 2011-12, 15 percent in 2012-13, and 20 percent in 2013-14,” Rogers said. “This will allow the students and teachers time to adjust to the new testing requirement.”

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