LVUSD takes action against vape epidemic

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LVUSD takes action against vape epidemic

Lexi Bender - Staff Writer, Ava Ghasiri - Creative Director

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Ever since the installation of vape detectors in CHS bathrooms, teachers and staff claim there has been a decrease in vaping on campus; in an effort to end this dangerous trend altogether, CHS is continuing to educate parents and students about the repercussions of vape, according to Principal CJ Foss.

Based on responses from the healthy kids survey, 47% of all students in the district have vaped in the last year, said Foss. Consequently, the LVUSD district board expressed concern and ultimately made the decision to install vape detectors in bathrooms at CHS and Agoura High School; ultimately, LVUSD aims to install vape detectors in secondary schools as well, according to Foss.

“I have noticed that due to the vape detectors we have less students vaping in the bathroom and in class; but, does that mean that there are less students vaping or are they just finding other places to do it?,” said Foss. “We are trying to educate parents and students, and we are also identifying different areas around campus where students vape.”

The vape detectors send an alert to an LVUSD district board member when it senses smoke or nicotine, according to Foss. Through the cameras placed around campus, Foss and other administration can see which students have entered or exited the bathroom before and after the alert was sent to a board member, said Foss.

“Community service is usually given in terms of consequences, and then that student will be placed on probation which means that they get to come back to school,” said Foss. “However they can be periodically drug tested for nicotine and other drugs for the rest of the time that they are school. The law enforcement can also ticket them because smoking is illegal on school campus and in the city of Calabasas. That student will be required to go to an administrative hearing and will usually be given an online nicotine or drug awareness course. The student will also be enrolled in a 12 week program called Choices, in which the student and their parents will have to participate.”

Choices acts as an alternative program to lengthy suspensions and expulsions for students who have violated disciplinary guidelines in terms of drug and alcohol possession and use, according to www.lvusd.org. The program includes a five day school suspension, mandatory participation in an eight week drug intervention program, mandatory participation in six sessions of a 12 step program, random drug testing and suspension from all extracurricular activities for 12 weeks, according www.lvusd.org.

In another effort to combat teenage nicotine addiction, the district hopes to discourage students from vaping by educating them about the long-lasing direct dangers of nicotine and drug use. While students may find ways around district anti-vape measures, such as moving to a new location that does now have detectors, LVUSD hopes to inform students and, as a byproduct, encourage them to not only stay away from nicotine products, but to want to avoid them at all costs. The LVUSD Board of Education has hired two Deans of Safety and Wellness, Mona White and Marty Freel, to focus on the vaping issue, said Foss. The Deans are monitoring different locations and bathrooms while also providing in-class lectures and parent nights to educate the community on the consequences of vape, said Foss.

“There is an oil in the vape that causes popcorn lung damage which cannot be repaired, so it is not better than smoking cigarettes,” said Foss. “The initial research shows that it is more damaging to the lungs because if you smoke nicotine and cigarettes and then you stop, your lungs begin to repair, but with the oil in the vape, the lungs do not repair afterwards.”

Vaping has become extremely common among teenagers across the country, so much so. that it has officially been declared an epidemic among youth in the United States by U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, according to www.npr.org. The trend of vaping in schools has grown exponentially; according to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, this is the fastest rise of substance usage among America’s youth.

“Most e-cigarettes and vapes contain nicotine which has negative side effects on health that include increased heart rate and blood pressure, lung disease, chronic bronchitis, and type 2 diabetes,” according to an article from Penn State University. “One juul pod contains as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes.”

Students have also reacted to these new vape preventative methods; the CHS student body has formulated their own opinions on the installation of vape detectors and other precautions at CHS, and whether or not it has made a difference in the community.

“I have noticed that less kids are vaping in class and at school, but I don’t think that students actually care about the vape detectors because they are just finding other ways to do it,” said senior Sophia Hetrick. “Students still vape outside of school and are just finding ways to be more cautious about when and where they choose to do it.” •

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