Vape detectors have begun to be installed in bathrooms throughout the school.
The devices, which are sometimes referred to as “vape detectors,” are used to detect more than just vapor– despite the name. In actuality, they detect everything from loud noises, to THC, to specific words, according to the website for the sensors, halodetect.com.
Dr. Matt Irvin, principal, said the sensors were installed in bathrooms throughout the school to prevent bullying and drug use in students.
“These spaces can be used for opportunists to do things or engage in things that are having a negative impact on their health or others’ health, whether that be urgent like a fight or less urgent like vaping,” Irvin said.
The monitors are a part of the larger plan from administration to prevent student drug use. The plan also included administrative talks with students last winter, Irvin said.
¨We went into all classrooms and talked about some general concerns and part of that was looking at vape stuff and the misconceptions between students, what they believe to be the negative effects of vaping versus what they actually are. So we tried to address it initially through education,¨ Irvin said.
Installation of the sensors began around a year ago. Irvin added not every bathroom has sensors. He also said to his knowledge, no locker rooms or other spaces had monitors.
“We’ve had to move some for a variety of reasons and we’ve just had some put in,” Irvin said.
Irvin explained when the sensors detect any vapor, THC or bullying, certain staff members are alerted through a notification. This includes assistant principals as well as permanent substitute teachers.
The website says the sensors are designed to detect five keyword phrases, although Irvin said this was not the case for the sensors installed at the high school. He said the sensors only detect loud noises and emphasized that they do not record audio or video.
“There’s nothing identifying about them other than it goes off and an individual might be in the space at the time,” Irvin said.
The administration makes sure to handle the search for vapes or drugs on students in a strategic way specific to the situation.
“The scope of the search is restrained for the suspicion. For example, if I thought someone stole a car, I wouldn’t look in their bag. So vape devices are pretty small, so where are places where that could be? So, that’s kind of how that’s structured,¨ Irvin explained.
Irvin added several students had been found to be vaping or using drugs as a result of the sensors.
Featured Graphic: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration modified its stance on COVID-19 and vaping, saying it has an unknown effect on the risk of the new coronavirus. (Dreamstime/TNS)
Hadley Hoskins- Junior Editor
This will be Hadley Hoskin’s first year on ECHO Staff, but she also made several contributions while taking journalism class her sophomore year.
Soledad Lee – Business Manager
This will be Soledad Lee’s first year on ECHO Staff. She also made several contributions while taking journalism class her sophomore year.