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Published: Wednesday, 4/11/2007

Springfield high school Students seeking smoke-free campus

BY JANET ROMAKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Alan Liebherr, 18, a senior ar Springfield High School, designed a T-shirt aimed at helping teens kick the smoking habit. Alan Liebherr, 18, a senior ar Springfield High School, designed a T-shirt aimed at helping teens kick the smoking habit.
THE BLADE/DAVE ZAPOTOSKY Enlarge | Buy This Photo

Taking a strong stand against smoking, some Springfield High School students want to kick some butts.

Cigarette butts, that is.

Members of STAND, a group that organizes youth to stand up and speak out against teenage smoking, are pushing for a smoke-free campus.

If students are successful in their campaign, it would mean that nobody would be allowed to smoke on Springfield school property.

Students say they are setting an example that they hope is followed at campuses across northwest Ohio.

"We're the first in our area, and we hope to gain awareness from what we're doing," sophomore Brian Wood said.

Inside the nearby high school auditorium other students were watching Cold Turkey, a 1971 comedy about a town in Iowa in which all the citizens try to quit smoking for 30 days to win a $25 million prize from a tobacco company.

Popcorn and a movie were part of activities during National Kick Butts Week, sophomore Dean Corr said. He and his brother, freshman Steven Corr, are involved in STAND.

Many Springfield students last week wore Kick Butts T-shirts with a logo designed by Alan Liebherr, a senior. His winning logo was selected from a field of 120 entries; he won $100. When asked about his views on smoking, he said "Why waste money on cigarettes?"

The consensus of many students, staff, and parents who participated in a recent survey was that smoking should not be allowed on any school property.

Nearly 80 percent of students polled said they had not smoked a cigarette in the last month; nearly 60 percent said they have never tried smoking.

However, about 9 percent said they have smoked on a regular basis.

STAND members said they would like to use "positive peer pressure" to encourage students to not use tobacco products. If smokers realize they are in the minority, they might be more willing to stop smoking, Brian said.

Other STAND members include freshman Ryan Romig, junior Josh Sheehan, junior Jeff Pohlman, senior Megan McKenzie, and sophomore Ashley Brown.

Students have approached Springfield Township and village of Holland officials about their campaign to create a smoke-free campus.

Community support is important, students said, in order for a smoke-free campus policy to be effective.

The school district already bans smoking in all of its buildings, but smoking is allowed outside on school property. Some sports fans in the district might not welcome a policy that prohibits them from smoking at an outdoor sporting event on school property.

Superintendent Cynthia Beekley said the district is working with the Northern Lakes League as the policy is being explored.

The school board could discuss a smoke-free campus policy during its May meeting, the superintendent said.

Contact Janet Romaker at:

jromaker@theblade.com or

419-724-6006.



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