100% TFS Toolkit – Policy Violation Consequences
Your district's new 100% Tobacco-Free Schools policy should include clear action
steps to take when policy violations occur. The Model
100% TFS Policy includes clear language about what happens to students,
staff and visitors who violate it. While each district's policy may differ,
here are some examples of how policy violations can be handled for all groups.
Notify parents or guardians of all violations committed by the student and all
actions taken by the school.
Refer students to the guidance counselor, school nurse or other counseling
service for screening, information, counseling and referral to cessation
programs. The best way to help a student smoker is to encourage them to quit.
Consider sending student violators to an Alternative To
Suspension (ATS) program. ATS programs provide education on the
addiction process and options for quitting, but are not cessation programs. You
can download a curriculum for how to implement an ATS program
here. Please note: before using this program, a school
representative must attend a training workshop with the American Lung
Association. To locate your local ALA office, visit
- Offer cessation classes for students who want to quit.
The 2002 National Youth Tobacco Survey showed that 55.8%
of students who currently smoke want to quit, and 58.2%
have tried to quit in the last year. If cessation classes
are not readily available, provide North Carolina Quitline
(1-800-QUIT-NOW) information. Try to arrange for someone
at the school (i.e. school nurse, counselor, tobacco educator)
to follow up with students who are motivated to quit to
check on progress and reinforce resources/support. You can
As a last resort, suspend student violators. Suspension rarely helps students
overcome tobacco addiction and is best used when a student has several prior
violations or refuses other measures. Counseling should always accompany
suspension, and in-school suspension is preferred to out-of-school suspension.
Encourage school staff to talk with their doctor or another health professional
about their tobacco use. Provide staff violators with information on the
dangers of tobacco use and refer them to resources on how to quit.
After the first offense, consider staff violations to be insubordination and
use the same actions as for any other policy offense.
Utilize a progressive enforcement policy using these steps:
Politely ask the individual to stop and refer them to the 100% TFS policy
(point them to signs nearby if possible).
If the person refuses to stop, request they leave the site of the school
If the person refuses to leave or is a repeat violator, refer to the school
resource officer or local law enforcement authorities. The person may then be
subject to a fine or other measure, depending on the language of your school
district's TFS policy.