News and Events

Levy County SWAT Share Information on Youth Vaping with The School Board of Levy County
May 28, 2019

The Tobacco Free Partnership (TFP) of Levy County and Levy Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) members have been working hard in the county this year to address the rapid rise of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) popularity among youth in schools as well as educate community members and decision makers about the potential dangers associated with the usage of these electronic cigarette products and the importance of including them in all tobacco free policies.


From Left to Right: Julietta Mulligan, Caleb Black, Kaylee Seamen, Shannon Keim, Abagail McPeak, Sidney Mekelburg, CK Swinford, Bristol Dorminey, Mrs. Dorminey (YTS SWAT Advisor)

In 2012, the School Board of Levy County (SBLC) passed a tobacco free policy that prohibited all uses of tobacco products in any form on or in any district-owned facility, property, or vehicle at any time. The policy was amended in 2014 to include ENDS. Early this school year, the Tobacco Free Partnership purchased updated signs for the school district to help communicate the tobacco free policy and included vaping in the sign language. In May of this year, the School Wellness Policy language was updated to read, “Goals to maintain a school and worksite environment that is free from tobacco, Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems, alcohol, and other drugs.” 

One of the goals of the TFP and SWAT this year is to support enforcement of the tobacco free schools policy, as student usage of ENDS has increased on all school campuses, leading to confiscation of the e-cigarette and in-school or out-of-school suspension for each student caught possessing and/or using it. Due to the higher number of students getting caught with ENDS on campus, the partnership and SWAT are concerned that students’ test scores will be affected due to the missed class time and their newfound addiction to nicotine, whose withdrawal symptoms can make concentration and attention difficult for teens.


Yankeetown SWAT Advisor and SWAT members presenting to the School Board of Levy County

On May 28th, members of the Yankeetown School (YTS) SWAT team, along with their SWAT Advisor, Raven Dorminey, and Principal Denee Hurst, attended a SBLC meeting in Bronson, FL. Their goal was to convince the Board to encourage the School District’s Resource Officers (SROs) to issue citations to students caught vaping or smoking on school property. Section 569.11, Florida Statutes, stipulates that it is “unlawful for any person under 18 years of age to knowingly possess any tobacco product. Any person under 18 years of age who violates the provisions…commits a noncriminal violation as provided in s. 775.08(3).”

A violation of the law is punishable as follows: for a first violation, 16 hours of community service or, instead of community service, a $25 fine. In addition, the person must attend a school-approved anti-tobacco program, if locally available; For a second violation within 12 weeks of the first violation, a $25 fine; or for a third or subsequent violation within 12 weeks of the first violation, the court must direct the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to withhold issuance of or suspend or revoke the person’s driver license or driving privilege, as provided in s. 322.056.


SWAT Member, Caleb Black (middle, speaking) addresses school board members as a part of the Yankeetown SWAT presentation.

The eight students who presented on behalf of the Yankeetown School SWAT team were excited to have the opportunity to exercise their public speaking skills and educate the Board about such an important issue affecting youth in Levy. When asked to reflect on the impact of their presentation, SWAT member Shannon Keim said, "The YTS SWAT team strongly believes this will help put the pressure on kids and their parents and not on the school administration, which takes up valuable learning time.” She continued, “The school board officials seemed pleased with the presentation and promised to take [our] request under consideration."

SWAT member Bristol Dorminey is passionate about the work her school does to fight the tobacco industry’s influence on youth. She summed up their presentation experience perfectly by saying, “We were so happy to show the School Board of Levy County that we see Big Tobacco is horrible and we will continue to show other students how using tobacco can affect their lives. We will bring down Big Tobacco for good!”

For more information on the SWAT Program in Levy County, contact Kristina Zachry at KZachry@QuitDoc.com.