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Should Pasco schools have a no-smoking hiring policy?



Two years ago, the Pasco school district decided to stop hiring smokers in its food and nutrition department.

"We told every applicant we screen out tobacco users," Rick Kurtz, the department director at the time, told the School Board.

The goal, officials said, was to expand the effort to other departments.

Instead, district executive director for administration Kevin Shibley told the board this week, the initiative is all but dead. Food and nutrition director Julie Hedine was "concerned about her ability to hire with that restriction in place," he said.

What's more, assistant superintendent Ray Gadd said, the district had little ability to stop employees from starting to smoke after they were hired as non-smokers.

School Board chairwoman Cynthia Armstrong remained vigilant in her desire to increase, rather than give up, efforts to eliminate tobacco use in the schools. "Our non-smoking policy is very, very weak compared to other districts," she said.

Gadd said he supported tobacco-free campuses and would investigate the matter further. Shibley added that the district could also look into ways to make it easier to stop smoking at schools, noting that stopping employee choices at home would be a tougher road to travel.

What do you think schools should do to restrict tobacco use? How far should they go? Should they try to hire only non-smokers?

[Last modified: Friday, August 23, 2013 9:59am]


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