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South Colonie schools adopt tobacco policy

olonie Central School District is coming to get you.

On Tuesday, May 6, the South Colonie Central School District adopted a new Tobacco-Free Healthy Schools policy to be implemented in the district's schools and surrounding property.

The new policy is the result of a collaboration between the school district and Capital Region BOCES, said Colonie High School Associate Principal Chris Leahey, the liaison for Tobacco-Free Healthy Schools.

"[BOCES] came and kind of recruited us to do this to update our policy," said Leahey, "This is one of the things they're heavily involved with."

As a result of the new policy, dozens of signs have been placed in the schools, advising children that not only can they not smoke in the buildings, but in areas around the buildings as well.

Leahey said the smoking problem the schools face, however, is not just one of students, but adults who use the grounds as well for athletic events and other activities.

Creating the new policy took some time, according to Leahey. "This all started over a year ago, and in the meantime, we put together a committee working closely with the Capital Region BOCES."

Tobacco-Free Healthy Schools Coordinator for Albany County Amanda Hooker said the South Colonie Central School District was very cooperative and worked well to achieve an adequate policy which will serve to meet the standards of Albany County.

"It is fantastic that the school district is encouraging the school community to be tobacco-free as this behavior has many positive effects on academics and athletics," she said.

The policy itself contains many similar elements to the previous policy: it states that faculty, students and visitors are not permitted to use tobacco on the school property.

However, the policy also provides contact information for help quitting the use of tobacco products.

"The policy also encourages students, staff and visitors to be directed to cessation programs if they desire to quit using tobacco," said Hooker.

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