High School student prosecuted for an e-cig
Electronic cigarettes are incredibly popular devices and they can deliver the same nicotine fix as their traditional tobacco counterparts but without any of the dangers of smoke, ash, tar and thousands of chemicals. However, all of the popularity comes at a price, since e-cigarettes are being banned in numerous public places all across the United States and Europe.
As a short disclaimer regarding the story that will follow, we are totally against e-cig use by minors, but at the same time, we hate it when everyone starts overreacting at the first glimpse of such a device.
Colin Phillips is an esteemed student at North High School and just like the majority of high school students, class probably isn't the first thing on his mind. He says he still makes mostly A's, but it was a ‘Class A’ Misdemeanor Charge that grabbed his attention after an e-cigarette incident on the school campus. ‘His mother, her mouth is hanging open. His mouth is hanging open. And it was just like wow what just happened,’ said Colin's father Rick Phillips.
Colin declares that he was only showing his friend and colleague an e-cigarette device while in the bathroom. As a teacher walked in and saw Colin's friend holding the device, both students were taken to the principal's office. At first, Colin was given a one-day suspension and was taken off Homecoming Court, which seems reasonable considering the incident and considering that tobacco products are off limits in the school campus. He thought it was over until the case was turned over the police liaison's office where Colin was ticketed and given a court date. ‘He actually told me that he thought I was going to get a $25 fine,’ said Colin.
However, to Colin's surprise the minor charge was suddenly upgraded to ‘contributing to the delinquency of a minor.’ He found out when the judge said the charge carries up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine. ‘That was when I started zoning out because I was just so dumfounded by it. Just completely taken off guard.’
Just for showing his friend an e-cigarette at school, Colin now faced the same penalties as a first offense drunk driver. However, Colin's father says this case is different. ‘They had never had somebody standing in front of them being prosecuted for an e-cig before.’
All the charges were dropped however after he agreed to pay a $350 fine and perform 25 hours of community service. Colin and his father say they have no hard feelings toward the EVSC, but they want to make people aware of what could happen. ‘If nothing else other parents can take a good look at this situation and realize how quickly a minor violation can get out of hand. Especially at the point in time that your kids are turning 18,’ said Rick Phillips.
The EVSC says Colin violated policy, but once he is ticketed and enters the court system, it is out of the school's control.