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Smoking at Waynesboro games banned

March 25, 1997

By LISA GRAYBEAL

Staff Writer, Waynesboro

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - High school football fans can no longer light up at Waynesboro Stadium during games.

The Waynesboro School Board voted 4-3 Tuesday night to ban smoking "by all persons," including faculty and staff, in school district buildings and on district property.

The vote was part of an overhaul of the district's smoking policy, including a separate student policy that reflects the new School Tobacco Control Law of 1996.

The three board members who voted against the new policies - Leland Lemley, Michael Mahr and Charles Mills - argued that there's no way to enforce the rules, especially during sporting events that attract the general public.

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"If you're going to set a policy like this, it's important to set guidelines and then enforce it," Lemley said. "We have to give someone authority to enforce it. How will they go about doing it?"

Arguing that it's unfair to target "good adults and good employees," Mahr suggested assigning designated smoking areas at the high school stadium and elsewhere. Otherwise, he predicts the smoking ban will have a detrimental effect on event attendance.

Others on the board and some members in the audience said other school districts have had no smoking policies on school grounds in effect for years. No smoking signs are posted at stadiums and periodic announcements are made over the loudspeaker to remind the public that smoking is banned.

Board member John Keller said he believes enforcement will be a simple matter for the school security officer to handle by politely but firmly reminding people of the policy when someone is observed smoking.

"The enforcement issue is not as complicated as you're making it," Keller said to Lemley.

At the school board's Feb. 25 meeting, Washington Township resident Steve Schwartz asked the board to take another look at its smoking policy, particularly at the high school stadium.

"It is not going too far to ask hard working, tax paying, nicotine dependent sports fans to go cold turkey for a few hours. Nicotine patches and gum are available to lessen the potential withdrawal symptoms," Schwartz said.

He added that smoking in public places is not a right and that banning smoking from the stadium should be an educational decision and not a political one.

"I'd like to see the day when signs will appear on all school district property that unequivocally say, `This is a smoke free campus,' " Schwartz said.

At the March 11 meeting, the board approved the student policy that prohibits smoking and the possession of tobacco products by students in school buildings, on school grounds, in school vehicles, during the school day, and at school activities.

The law requires school officials to refer to a local district justice any students who violate the policy.

A district justice could impose a fine of up to $50.

Under the law, smoking or possession of tobacco will be treated as a summary offense and will not become part of a student's record.

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