Office of the Superintendent

  • Superintendent Anthony PanellaWelcome to the Superintendent's Office 

    Anthony J. Panella
    Superintendent
    Email: apanella@amherstschools.org
    Phone: 716-362-3051
     
    Debbie Custodi
    Secretary to the Superintendent and District Clerk
    Email: dcustodi@amherstschools.org
    Phone: 716-362-3051
    Fax: 716-362-3022 


    February 2019

    The allure of devices shaped like USB drives or highlighter pens and the availability of candy, fruit and alcohol flavorings make e-cigarettes very appealing to young people.

    Identified by the Surgeon General and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as an epidemic, the use of e-cigarettes has national health agencies and school educators very concerned. Known as vape pens, e-cigs, tank systems, mods, or e-hookahs, the nicotine and aerosols present in e-cigarettes pose risks to a young person’s overall health, brain development, learning, impulse control and addiction behaviors.

    E-cigarettes are battery powered devices that heat a solution of liquid nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals creating an aerosol that is inhaled by the user. They entered the U.S. marketplace around 2007. In 2018, more than 3.6 million U.S. youth, including 1 in 5 high school students and 1 in 20 middle school students, currently use e-cigarettes, according to research collected by the Surgeon General.

    JUUL, one of the top selling e-cigarette brands, has developed an intense marketing campaign aimed at adolescents to promote its nicotine flavor pods and unique packaging that resembles a USB drive. According to the manufacturer, a single JUUL pod contains as much nicotine as a pack of 20 regular cigarettes.

    Here at Amherst Central Schools we are very concerned about this national trend. We are taking a proactive approach through several steps to provide information to our families to protect our youth from possibly a lifetime of nicotine addiction.

    Dr. Kiel Illg, the Director of Health, Physical Education and Athletics, recently emailed our middle and high school parents to provide information and online resources to educate and raise awareness about the dangers of e-cigarettes.  As a service for all parents, we have placed those online resources on our website, amherstschools.org/health.

    On March 28 from 6:30 – 8 p.m. we are hosting a Youth E-Cigarette Parent Information Night in the Middle School auditorium. Experts from the UB Smoking Research Lab who specialize in teenage e-cigarette usage and the Erie County Council for the Prevention of Alcohol and Substance Abuse will provide a general overview of e-cigarettes, current trends in WNY teenage usage, why/how teens are using them, samples of e-cig devices, and tips for parents on making their kids aware of the dangers and path to addiction.

    Our campuses, athletic fields, school buses and facilities are tobacco-free. Prohibiting the use of e-cigarettes was added to our Board of Education Policy 7320: Alcohol, Tobacco, Drugs and Other Substances. We have also outlined in the Code of Conduct the disciplinary measures for students consuming, sharing, selling, using, or possessing e-cigarettes.

    This is a community health issue and a growing concern for school officials. We encourage all parents to attend our March 28 e-cigarette information session.