MCPS Updates Athletic Guidelines to Include Vaping


Graphic by Alex Levy and Olivia Turner

MCPS updated their athletic guidelines to include vaping. Now any student athletes caught vaping will face the same consequences as if they were caught smoking.

Daniel Pujo, Sports Managing Editor

Before recently, vaping was never categorized in the tobacco, drug and alcohol area of the MCPS student athlete guidelines, but it is now is classified to be a tobacco product which will carry a more severe punishment for athletes caught vaping.

Vaping has become an epidemic across the nation as many teens including athletes have taken electronic cigarettes such as Juuls as new habits and incorporated it into their daily lives.

Many RHS students have been caught using vape devices and received punishments such as lunch detentions, loss of parking permits or getting their device confiscated. However, rules for athletes caught vaping may result in more severe consequences due to official policy changes recently made by MCPS.

“Any MCPS student-athlete with verified use, distribution, or possession of alcohol, tobacco, illegal drugs and/or controlled substances on school property or at a school sponsored  event, is prohibited from participation in athletic activities for a minimum of 10 consecutive school days (including any intervening non-school days). The student-athlete will be eligible for athletic activities on the eleventh school day,” according to the MCPS handbook.

The rule is not new, but due to the recent rise of vaping, MCPS informed all administrators through meetings that this rule is not to be taken lightly.

“Mr.Hayes informed all the coaches at RHS about the new rule, we discussed it as a team during one of our practices. I reminded them of the expectations of being a student-athlete,” boys varsity basketball head coach Todd Dembroski said.

Students are already adapting to the new focus by either vaping less or by being more discrete such as only juuling in team rooms when no supervision is around.

“I know I can get caught, but now that it can really affect my team. I might throw my juul away, this could ruin the whole season for everyone,” an anonymous athlete said.

Coaches also have the ability to punish their players separately from administration. Meaning more consequences for athletes in addition to the 10-day suspension. All athletes, especially those in the midst of their season, can lose their spot on the team based on the coaches’ punishments, if caught vaping.

Administrators in the building are now making sure that all coaches and athletes are aware of the updated vaping rule, and that the expectations for athletes remains the same.

“Vaping has become a very popular recreational activity. It’s happening all over the country; it’s an epidemic,” athletic director Michael Hayes said. “It’s not just school specific, and I think they [MCPS was] just verifying that it was in the category of alcohol, tobacco, illegal drugs and/or controlled substances.”