CLAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Northmont High School is now taking new steps in the fight against the teen vaping epidemic. Dozens of new vape detectors are installed in every student bathroom, to deter students from vaping at school.
The program is set to go live in just a few days. It’s a costly one, as the tab runs tens of thousands of dollars. But with vaping so prevalent in high schools, the director says it’s worth it.
Sheree Coffman is the Student Assistance Counselor at Northmont. She says, “Our goal is not to kick kids out of our school, it’s to identify the kids who need help, and make sure we offer that to them.”
28 Halo detectors, or vape detectors, are now installed in every student bathroom in Northmont High School at a cost of $38 thousand. They detect air changes: if something is in the air that usually isn’t, the sensors will alert staff.
Coffman says, “It’s going to be a text message that is sent to our administration so they can follow up on the identified bathroom.” The sensors are a new tactic in the fight against vaping. Northmont already provides education and peer counseling, anti-vaping messages throughout the school, and information for students to get help.
Coffman says, “There’s the other side, which is kids who maybe know about the negative effects, maybe don’t believe the negative effects, and they want to use anyway.” She says the goal is not to punish students, but to help them. “We need to put something in place that will let them know, if you engage in this, you may have a consequence. And that may be the difference between them engaging and not doing it.”
An automatic 10-day suspension for vaping or using tobacco can be knocked down to three days if a student is willing to do free, in-school education. Coffman says, “There’s a portion of our kids who may be vaping who aren’t concerned about the health effects. This is not what they’re looking for, but if they know the sensors are there, they don’t want the consequence.”
Northmont runs a peer education program where the high school students counsel the middle schoolers. Coming up in March, they’ll have the final two sessions of the school year.