Regional School Unit 71's Board of Directors repealed an old tobacco use policy and discussed replacing it with another at its meeting this week. New discussions centered around adding a "no possession" clause in the policy.

Directors talked about wording as well as who might be affected by the new policy. Board Member Charlie Grey, also a member of the Policy Committee, stated that the committee would like the policy to prohibit tobacco products in cars and in a person's possession while on school property.

That triggered a discussion about how the board wanted the policy — slated as ADC-R — to be implemented with visitors on school grounds. Some board members thought it was extreme to ban tobacco products in cars on school grounds.

Board Member Josh Solebello said he was a smoker and said he supports prohibiting tobacco use on school property. However, he said he thought it was excessive to prohibit the possession of it in a person’s private vehicle.

Board of Directors Chairwoman Caitlin Hills reminded board members that school officials cannot perform an illegal search and seizure inside a person’s private vehicle. She said tobacco would have to be blatantly in use for the school to take action.

Another board member thought the state policy about tobacco use on school grounds already prohibited possession. But the state statute only mentions tobacco use on school grounds, not its possession, according to

Board Member Jean Dube pointed out there is nothing in the policy about faculty violations. Another board member stated that it was because there are laws for adults against tobacco use on school property.

She argued that if there were repercussions in the previous policy, then there should be repercussions in the new one.

The only mention of enforcement in the Maine statute prohibiting tobacco on school grounds is that violators are to be reprimanded by the school’s principal, according to the state website.

The new tobacco policy was tabled to a future meeting, after the Policy Committee has a chance to readdress issues raised. Hills thanked board members for their input and said that is why they discuss policy changes before voting and implementing them.