Wasatch School District has installed vaping sensors in the bathrooms in the high school. Both Wasatch district middle schools will have devices installed on Friday (tomorrow, or today). The effort is a result of a parent finding vaping devices in their child’s backpack.
Wasatch School District Communications Director, John Moss says the detectors were installed in the high school over the summer as a result of a grass roots effort by parents. They became alarmed upon learning of the widespread use of vape products by teens.
“So, they called their school board member, Mark Davis to a special meeting in Wallsburg. He went and visited with them and that’s what led to this whole thing. This started from the parents to the school board and the school board said we’ve got to do something about this and that’s what led to the vape detectors in the bathroom.”
They announced to students that the detectors would be in the bathrooms and if found vaping, they would be suspended and would go through a remediation program providing education about using nicotine, drugs and alcohol, before returning to school.
“Our latest news reports have just been terrifying to think that our kids are thinking they’re drinking a Mountain Dew when in reality they’re destroying their lungs. I think this is a story we need to get out and we need to let parents know, every parent, no matter how good your kid is, your kid’s at risk and they need to be on top of this.”
Moss says the district is trying to be proactive in teaching students about the dangers of vaping. The vape sensors can detect THC oils as well as nicotine and other flavors. When the sensors are activated, it only alerts administrators through an immediate text messaging system.
“It was really illuminating when the parents had the discussion with their kids, and they said how many kids are doing it. They were told Mom, it’s no big deal, everybody’s doing it. It’s just like drinking a Mountain Dew, equivalent to caffeine. And, they didn’t understand the seriousness of it…there’s no doubt these companies are marketing to the teen market when they have bubblegum flavored vape oil. That’s is obviously not meant for a 40-year-old man.”
Rocky Mountain Middle School Principal, Justin Kelly says district policy says if kids are vaping at school, they’ll be suspended and will have to take a six-hour class on cessation. He says they talk about vaping and related healthy practices regularly at school.
“In our health class, we have our DARE program and we teach kids to stay away from drugs. And, our DARE officer, he has a whole section on vaping. And then we have a homeroom class on Tuesdays and Fridays. We teach lessons about resiliency and being able to stand up and say no and it may not just be about vaping but it’s about a lot of issues that teens are facing.
Both Kelly and Moss say kids are ordering vape products off the internet and that causes alarm because they can be black market products which can be deadly. Moss believes since the installation of the sensors, students vaping in the rest rooms is slowing. He encourages parents to become familiar with what the products look and smell like and to pay attention to what’s in their kid’s backpacks.