Student Smoking/keeping confidence

Discussion in 'General Education' started by MrH_, Nov 5, 2014.

  1. MrH_

    MrH_ New Member

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    Nov 5, 2014

    One of my students smokes.

    It was a rumor that I heard from a teacher who heard from a parent.

    I told her I wanted to ask her a question, and that it had nothing to do with discipline. “Do you smoke?” “That’s a very strange question, but I’ll tell you the truth, yes.”
    She has smoked for three months, and she is trying to quit. She tries not to smoke in school uniform, she mostly does it while at work.

    She asked if other teachers knew. I said that it was just a rumor to (the dean of discipline), and we didn’t know if it was true. She asked me to “just keep it between us.” <-----

    My question is: Should I keep this information in confidence? Or should I tell the dean and also her parents?

    I think that she is sixteen.

    Background: My school is in a different country where we do care about student lives outside of school also. I'm not sure about the legal status of her smoking, but that isn't really the point. I am a homeroom teacher concerned with the overall wellbeing of the students in my homeroom.

    I feel like the right thing to do is to inform the parents and the dean, but I want to think carefully before I act.
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Nov 5, 2014

    Interesting first post.


    I don't think this is your business or responsibility. At most you can express your concern for her health. Beyond that, I wouldn't contact parents or admin about this.
     
  4. P Chang

    P Chang Companion

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    I'm curious if the legal smoking age for the country you're in is 16. But even if it isn't, aside from maybe giving her some information, such as pamphlets, on how to quit smoking (since she expressed interest in quitting), I wouldn't take it any further than you have already.
     
  5. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    I think what you are asking could be different depending on the culture of the country. What information is shared with parents (and at what age) can be dramatically different from country to country. In my travels I have found it fascinating how many countries see things differently than we do in America. I would suggest trying to find advice from people who live in your own country or know your culture better than an American like me.
     
  6. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Nov 6, 2014

    It's probably apparent to anyone around her that she smokes. You don't need to say anything.
     
  7. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    We are required to report any illegal drug use (including smoking underage).
     
  8. Ms.Blank

    Ms.Blank Companion

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    Nov 6, 2014

    This...

    and this...

    unless your contract states something about this (and she is in fact not of the legal age...sometimes people tend to forget that while it is unhealthy, smoking is not illegal for a student if they are of age. I had some friends that smoked in high school, but they were legal, so....).
     
  9. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Nov 6, 2014

    I would let the student know that, while I wouldn't go out of my way to report it to the parent, if asked, I would tell them.
     
  10. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Nov 6, 2014

    Keep in mind that it isn't the smoking at 16 that is illegal, but the purchasing cigarettes under the age of 18 that is, at least here in the States. If you have reason to believe she is selling single cigarettes to minors to pay for her addiction, that is a different conversation. Honestly, I can't think that the smell of smoke hasn't already tipped off pretty much everyone other than another smoker that she is smoking. The school will find out soon enough if she is stupid enough to smoke on school property, so then not on you to deal with it. I, personally, have enough other things to worry about that are legitimately my concern in the course of the day. My answer would be different if you were talking mind altering drugs, cutting, suicidal tendencies, drinking and driving, running away from home, allegations of abuse or bullying, and the list goes on. Pick you battles wisely.
     
  11. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Is tobacco tested in most schools? It is in ours and a student actually couldn't go to a big school event because of it. He was also 18, but he and his parents signed the athletic contract that said he wouldn't use tobacco products. I'm starting to think we're a bit unique in this.
     
  12. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    I'm thinking it is more about a binding signed agreement to not smoke, and the consequences for breaking the contract. Honestly, my parents smoked like fiends and I bet that my sister and I would have tested in the low use range if anyone had wanted to test us! Neither of us has ever smoked a day in our lives, but both parents died from complications of smoking.
     
  13. P Chang

    P Chang Companion

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    Actually, it's the possession of cigarettes by a minor that makes it illegal. If a store sells cigarettes to a minor, then the act of selling the cigarettes is illegal.
     
  14. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    I'm not convinced that possessing/smoking the cigarettes is illegal in most states, unless they are smoking in areas where smoking is banned. This would include virtually every school environment known to man, in restaurants, on a plane, or anywhere else that smoking is explicitly banned. Anyone, at any age, who smokes where smoking is expressly prohibited is breaking the law. Selling cigarettes to minors is illegal for the seller, but if a parent buys cigarettes and gives them to the child or the child swipes them at home, no one is going to issue an arrest warrant for them! Running a quick search does not support the belief that minors are breaking the law by smoking in areas that have no restrictions. However, one minor selling a cigarette to another minor is a punishable offense, due to the federal law banning the sale of tobacco products to minors. :2cents:
     
  15. P Chang

    P Chang Companion

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    Nov 6, 2014

    I had initially typed a more detailed post of the one you quoted, but deleted it so as go with the more simple explanation. Guess I should have stuck with the long one after all. :lol:

    At any rate, the possession of cigarettes by minors is an offense, but not an offense that a minor can be arrested for (yet, yes, still illegal). Of course, I can only speak as it relates to Florida, as this is where I was a deputy sheriff. I once caught a 12-year-old gang member with cigarettes, and we bust gang members for anything/everything possible. I looked up the offense in the Florida State Statute book, but learned I could not arrest him for it.

    Doesn't really have to do with this thread though.

    Still would like to know what country the OP is teaching in.
     

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