UISD Police seeing an increase in students…


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uisd-police-seeing-an-increase-in-students…

LAREDO, TX. (KGNS) – E-cigarettes can come in all shapes and sizes and while they may seem harmless, they are not.

The devices are even showing up at school campuses, that’s according to one local school district

The electronic cigarettes or vape pens can be disguised as lipsticks, perfumes or even gum sticks. UISD Police say it’s a rising trend that they are calling an overwhelming problem.

Just this year alone, district police have reported 296 cases of students in possession of vape pens; some of the devices even have THC or nicotine.

Sylvia Abrego with UISD Police said they are finding these devices in all grade levels from, elementary schools to high schools.

“There has been some instances in the elementary, and we’ve been told by the students it’s because they get it from their older brothers or siblings, or cousins,” said Abrego.

UISD Police say due to the high amount of chemicals, the vapes sometimes contain synthetic marijuana.

The district even reports overdose cases in their schools where emergency services have had to help a student, but health consequences are not the only thing vape users may face.

“They are being prosecuted through the county attorney at the juvenile level, which is from the age of 10 and on. And from the age of 17 and on they will be prosecuted by the district attorney. They will face a charge of felony 3, since it is in a drug-free zone,” said Abrego.

Officer Abrego also warns that students will face administrative consequences and could be placed at an alternative schools.

The UISD Police Department is reminding students about the importance of making the right decisions.

“Unfortunately, they’re juveniles, their brain isn’t fully developed at that point, so they think it’s a game but once they get older they will realize that being charged with this felony will affect them greatly in their future careers,” said UISD Police Investigator Armando Rodriguez.

The police department said they are available to help combat this issue; however, they also need support from the parents.

“We can only do so much at the school, but our parents are our eyes at home. Check their backpacks, check their rooms, and try to help us so that we can bring the statistics down,” said Abrego.

UISD Police said parents can call their school counselors or the district police to learn more about how to identify these vape pens.

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