As nine-year-old fourth grade student at Renaissance Academy Paisley Midkiff walked into her classroom, she caught the usual whiff of smoke, a combination of cigarette and marijuana smoke.
It smells like a cigarette, she commented, hugging her comfort cow, a stuffed animal she keeps with her.
The smell isnt something that bothers her anymore, but its something that she said is stronger towards the beginning of the day.
You would think someone was smoking in the classroom because the smell is so strong, but thats not the case.
Renaissance Academy on 22nd and Colombus shares a wall with a smoke shop next door.
Since our door is right next to the smoke shop door, sometimes theyll come in and mistaken it, she said about the casual person wandering into the schools lobby.
The schools lobby is equipped with a door that can only open when someone from the other side opens it. Guests will have to ring a doorbell for that to happen.
Her mom Kim Midkiff teaches special ed students at the school, leading KGUN9 reporter Andrew Christiansen into her daughters classroom.
All right so this is the classroom. Oh ya you can definitely smell it. For sure, Christiansen commented.
Its a smell that Midkiff said can make it harder to teach her students.
They use it as a reason why they cant focus on their work.and I dont blame them, she said.
Walking outside, she showed Christiansen the signs on the schools outdoor wall that say people shouldnt be smoking, loitering or using drugs.
Except she said people who hang around the smoke shop often do use drugs and smoke right outside the school almost every day, having to chase them away while getting yelled at.
Right in front of the school, she showed Christiansen tin foil on the ground. She said people who patron the smoke shop use the foil to smoke harder drugs like crack cocaine.
She said they often hang outside, just laying on the sidewalk.
She said last winter when the smoke shop moved next door from across the same center, crimes went up.
The City of Tucson is considering new laws that would not allow smoke shops to be within one thousand feet of schools and other smoke shops, and within 500 feet of parks. They said they are considering holding a public meeting on October 17 so the City Council and Mayor Regina Romero can hear Tucsonans concerns.
However, the City of Tucson says right now smoke shops dont have to be a certain distance from schools, saying there are 54 smoke shops in the city within 1000 feet of schools
They cited the Smoke Free Arizona Act, which doesnt let people smoke within 20 feet of any entrance.
However, Christiansen did see and smell people smoking marijuana right outside the school. He went up to the smoke shop, but the owner who he saw in the parking lot told him he was not even allowed to even open the door of the shop to go in.
The headmistress of the school said theyre locked into a lease for four more years but would consider moving after.
Parents and students like Kim and Paisley Midkiff said theyre just hoping the City doesnt allow smoke shops to be next to schools at all.
Its easier for us to function without a smoke shop right next door, Paisley Midkiff said.