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Schools Ban Lighting Up Outdoors


SANTA CLARITA — Smoking will no longer be permitted at local football matches, baseball games and all other outdoor activities at public high schools and junior highs.

Trustees of the William S. Hart Union High School District voted unanimously for the smoking ban Wednesday night, even though it will further inconvenience at least one of them. Trustee John Hassel lamented that the number of places where he can indulge are steadily shrinking.

"I'm not allowed to smoke in the house, I have to go outside," he said. "Now I'm trying to figure out where to do it."

He said he voted for the ban because it set a good example for students.

No punishment was named for those who light up in violation of the ban. "There's no penalty per se ," Hassel said. "What I imagine the practice will be is the individual will be reminded of the ban. After that, it's simply a matter of addressing the individual situation."

Curbing smoking on school property is a requirement of the federal Tobacco Use and Prevention Education program, from which the school has received about $30,000 per year since 1990.

"When you receive those funds, you need to have your school district move toward becoming tobacco-free," said William White, administrator of educational services for the district.

The funds are earmarked for classes and programs designed to convey the health dangers of smoking. In accepting the money, the district agreed to become tobacco-free by June, 1996.

Five years ago, students were banned from smoking in all indoor areas and on school grounds when school was in session. Teachers and other employees continue to be allowed to smoke in designated areas, but that practice will also end by the 1996 deadline, school officials said.

Trustees and several school administrators said they do not expect the new restrictions, which take effect next month, to affect attendance or operation of outdoor events.

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