Over the past few years, many middle and high school students have begun using electronic cigarettes and vaping devices. As concerned educators, we have shared educational information with parents about what to know and how to speak with your children in this regard. While parents and students are becoming more educated about the health risks associated with vaping, the practice among middle and high school students continues, more than likely because it is an addictive habit that many are unable to quit without professional help.
The administration and faculty at Catholic High are aware that this is a problem even among our students. Here are some strategies we are employing to tackle this problem.
- Continued education and dialogue. We are communicating with law enforcement, medical and addiction health professionals, and other educators to get more information and ideas as to how to combat e-cigarette use and vaping among young people. Teachers of science and health are finding ways to include anti-vaping in the curriculum. In one-on-one conversations with students that we advise or counsel, we are constantly reinforcing the anti-vaping message. And we are encouraging parents to talk about vaping with their children, not just once, but often.
- Enforcement of Anti-Vaping laws. Smoking and carrying electronic cigarettes and advanced personal vaporizers are prohibited on any school property. Possession of vapor products by persons under the age of eighteen is prohibited. Penalties for student violators include serious disciplinary action in the form of suspension from school. Students who violate these laws by selling e-cigarettes or vapes on campus or at school events are subject to even harsher penalties.
- Student searches. School officials check for vaping in student bathrooms periodically each day. We require students to leave book bags outside of bathrooms. Random backpack, locker, and vehicle searches occur frequently. When we have reasonable suspicion, students may be asked to turn out pockets, take off socks and shoes, and may be searched with a hand-held metal detector. Through all of these searches, we have confiscated a number of devices, most often Juuls and Juul pods, but also dab pens, Alto vapes, etc…
The administration and faculty of Catholic High often partner with parents to help students to make wise life choices. Trust your instincts, talk with your children, and have a plan of action on how to address this issue if it is a concern for your family. If the faculty and administration can be helpful as a part of that plan, please do not hesitate to ask.
On behalf of the administration and faculty,
Mrs. Shannon Aucoin
Dean of Students