Our Vaping Detection Program is in the News

Today has been a very busy day in the district with inquiries from the press about the vaping devices we have purchased and installed in some of the bathrooms at the Middle High School.  Apparently there was a story on the news this morning that Georgetown is the first district in the state to install these vape detectors and they wanted to know about why we were doing it and what have we found in terms of their . You may hear from your MHS student  that the press was at the school and I want to let you know the reason. Principal Richards and I met with reporters from two local stations  and I expect there will be coverage on the local news tonight.  We implemented the detectors when we learned of their use in another state. As we told them, vaping among middle and high school students is on the rise nationally and all schools are having some challenges with it , especially since the devices are more available on-line, entice students with flavors and are easily concealed due to their style and size. In the last year or so, we have become aware of vaping particularly in the bathroom and ,as part of our commitment to ensuring the health and wellness of our students, we decided to look into these devices made by Fly Sense which detect vapor and loud noise and send an alert to the administration mostly as a deterrent.  Obviously, if students are caught vaping in the bathroom, there are consequences outlined in the student handbook but we know that these devices will not always result in catching students in the act. We think the value is for those students who might consider vaping but are concerned about the risk of being caught as this acts as a deterrent and keeps the bathrooms safer and healthier for all students.  We all know that students do not always do what is best for them and they have developing brains that do not always help them avoid engaging in risky behavior however our goal is to use education to get in front of the issue for students. One of the things I am most proud about is the start of a vaping diversion program for students who have been caught multiple times and may have an addiction to the liquid nicotine that is in the vaping device.  With this program, students can have their consequences downgraded if they agree to go through this educational program that includes learning about the dangers, meeting with key health,wellness and counselling staff and making a plan to assume a healthier lifestyle. In our experience, punishment does not always change behavior, especially if it involves addiction, so we have a tiered approach to helping our students that we believe will work. We explained this to the press and feel that they left having a better understanding of why we are implementing this program that we are not doing this because we want to catch students vaping and punish them. It is because we care about their health and well-being and want to provide a clean, safe and drug free school environment.  I want to be sure to thank the Georgetown Cares Coalition Committee for appropriating the funds to purchase these vape detectors using funds from the Healthy Phams medical marijuana facility in town.  I understand that there will be press coverage on the television tonight at 6:00 PM.