• Confiscated on Campus: KIRO 7 Investigates what kids are bringing to school

    By: Alison Grande

    Updated:

    KIRO 7 got a look at the items confiscated on campus at local schools so far this year.

    "I think lots of times, students are thinking about short-term consequences and not thinking about long-term impact," said Michael Takayoshi, the principal at Cascade High School in Everett. 

    He showed us the vapes, vape liquids and lighters confiscated at his school so far this year.

    In Seattle, administrators showed us items from each grade level -- vapes, knives, manila envelopes of marijuana, even a pick axe.

    For the adults in charge of discipline, it is about more than the item itself.

    "Why did the student have it? What was going on? What were all the circumstances surrounding it?" explained Erin Romanuk, who is the supervisor for behavior and discipline at Seattle Public Schools.

    "Discipline used to be pretty strict. If you brought a dangerous weapon, which could be a pocket knife, a kitchen knife, we used to have a pretty strict policy. This is just what you would do. A lot of times that ended up in exclusionary practice, which was an out-of-school suspension for a certain number of days," Romanuk explained. 

    Now, discipline is different. The legislature made changes four years ago to help close opportunity gaps in learning. 

    Districts were directed to create discipline policies that minimize the use of suspensions and expulsions. The focus is to keep kids in class.

    "Now, it's really taking a look at the entire situation of what's going on so if a student brings, say, a pocket knife, it's really figuring out what was the intent? Romanuk said.

    The most confiscated items in Seattle schools are vape devices. 

    Instead of just taking away the vape itself, the district is suing Juul, the manufacturer.

    Of our nicotine violations so far this school year, "100 percent ... have been for vape devices," said Lisa Davidson, who is the manager of prevention and intervention with Seattle Schools. 

    Looking at the number of vape devices on the tapes showed her she has work to do. She hopes suing Juul will make an impact.

    "It's sad, it's challenging and it also gives me drive to want to work hard and make me help."
     


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