Board to consider banning all smoking in schools Measure would affect teachers, visitors

June 24, 1993|By Lan Nguyen | Lan Nguyen,Staff Writer

The Howard County school board will decide today whether to ban smoking on school grounds.

If the measure is approved, teachers would no longer be allowed to smoke in lounges or entrance ways. Violators would be required to meet with their supervisor to review the policy and could be referred to smoking-cessation classes.

School visitors also would be prohibited from smoking. First-time violators would receive an oral warning.

They would be asked to leave the premises if they continue, and they would be given a no-trespassing letter on the third offense.

The proposal also seeks to ban the sale of tobacco on school grounds.

The vote comes two days after the cigarette industry filed a lawsuit to force the Environmental Protection Agency to take back a claim that secondhand smoke is so poisonous that there is no safe exposure to it.

School board members say the suit will not affect the way they vote.

"We're willing to accept the reason that it's a noxious substance, number one, and that there is some quantity of damage by secondhand smoke," said school board Chairman Dana Hanna.

The board conducted a public hearing June 10 at which a Wilde Lake media specialist warned that imposing a ban would cause teachers who smoke to stop putting in extra hours. Also at the hearing, Rosemary Mortimer, the head of the School Health Council, lauded the school system's proposal. She advocated stricter punishment for violators of the existing ban on student smoking.

The school board also today will consider giving the name Manor Woods Elementary School to the county's newest school.

The name comes from Ellicott City's geographic history. The land the school at Route 144 and Triadelphia Road occupies was once part of the Carroll family's Doughoregan Manor, said Bill Grau, the site planner for the school system.

Mr. Grau said a committee of parents and teachers had considered naming the school Doughoregan, but "kids would have a hard time spelling it," he said.

Other names that were considered include Stone Manor, Manor Dale, Manor, Bishop Manor, King's Grant and King's Gift. The latter names stem from tales that the king of England centuries back deeded the land to bishops in America.

Mr. Grau said the name "Manor Woods" stood out out because acres of trees and bushes surround the school, scheduled to open in August 1994.

"I think the name really fits," he said.

Alice Haskins, director of middle schools for Howard County, said she likes the name because it has a good ring to it.

"We try to get a name that flows," she said. "We looked basically to the history near Doughoregan Manor."

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