GEORGETOWN (CBS) — Vape detectors are now in the bathrooms at Georgetown Middle/High School. The school’s principal says it’s not about catching students in the act or getting them in trouble, it is about keeping them safe.
“We were aware of it but boy, it got ahead of us quickly,” Principal Dan Richards said.
Richards is a part of a statewide Principals Association. He said vaping during the school day is something principals across the board are noticing.
As Superintendent Carol Jacobs pointed out, it is getting harder and harder to tell whether or not a student is vaping. “They often look like a computer stick and it’s very easy for students to just sort of blow it into their sleeve and no one knows about it,” she explained.
So Georgetown Middle/High School decided to take action with ten vape detectors in the bathrooms. They were installed in September and cost about $7,500.
“We are very clear to explain that to the children it is not a camera. It’s not a device that records anything,” Jacobs said.
The detectors look like your typical smoke detector. “It senses the vaping smell,” Richards added, then sends an alert to teachers’ cell phones when something is detected.
Savage Vapes happens to be across the street from the school. “There’s no way anybody under 21 is coming in here to buy a vape,” said owner Stuart Egenberg. He is on board with the school’s message and spoke with Principal Richards.
“When I was a kid, everyone was smoking in the men’s room in between classes and at that time nobody ever talked about nicotine or tobacco,” Stuart explained.
Jacobs said, “We want to deter kids. We want to support kids and we want to educate kids. We want to be as proactive as possible.”
Richards said he believes it is working. “I think the combination of the device, the alert, and our approach has really deterred vaping in the schools.”
There are plans to install ten more in bathrooms and maybe locker rooms as well.
According to Jacobs, funding for the detectors came from GeorgetownCARES, an organization aimed at substance abuse prevention.
Earlier this year, the FDA declared teen vaping an epidemic with more than 2 million middle and high school student admitting to using the devices.