Can school boards regulate smoking at school and the use of tobacco by students?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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A school board is allowed to govern, regulate, or restrict smoking at school by its students during the time the students are either on school property or participating in school-related activities.

These are the times during which the school has a certain amount of jurisdiction over student behavior. Even if the students in question are considered legally old enough to use tobacco, the school board still has the right to regulate smoking at school while the students are under their jurisdiction.

What are the rules governing smoking at school?

A school board is given the right to make rules that ensure the safety, health, and well-being of the students under its care, and smoking at school is considered a threat to these protected areas. Using tobacco is considered a threat to the health of the student himself as well as those around him, and it may also be a fire hazard or safety risk in other ways. Thus, the school has the right to restrict smoking at school and during school activities.

Once the students are not under the school’s jurisdiction, i.e. when they are off school grounds and not participating in school-related activities, the school board’s right to regulate their behavior gives way to legalities. At this time the students are no longer subject to school rules. However, their enforcement during school hours and at school locations is not a violation of freedom. It is perfectly within the rights of the school board to make and enforce such decisions.

If you have concerns over any aspect of your civil rights or believe that your school or district is overstepping its legal bounds, it is in your best interests to consult with a lawyer to determine what if any legal recourse you may have given the situation. 

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