An Oakland County high school is installing vape sensors in all of its bathrooms to deter and detect student use during school hours.
Andy Meloche, Berkley High School’s principal, sent a letter to students and families Tuesday, notifying them of the installation of vape sensors in all 20 of Berkley High School’s restrooms. School officials also plan to create two gender neutral restrooms after a student-led initiative.
The school is “always looking for ways to improve the safety of our building, while making sure we continue to provide an inclusive and welcoming environment for all our students and staff,” he wrote.
The installation of vape sensors comes as schools are struggling with the prevalence of teenage vaping which has become a widespread concern for local districts. The sensors will detect the presence of vapor from e-cigarettes and other vaping devices and alert administration.
The letter said this action was inspired by Oakland Schools Technical Campus who “expressed a positive experience with their investment in vape sensors. In fact, they reported both a decrease in the occurrence of vaping in the restrooms and an increase in the comfort level of students using the restroom. We are hopeful to experience the same success,” Meloche said in the letter.
Out of its 20 bathrooms, the two gender neutral restrooms will be located on the school’s first and second floor and open to all staff and students, regardless of gender identification. Additionally, there are three single-person private restrooms in the building.
The major difference to the interior of the two restrooms will be the enhanced privacy stalls, which are taller than a traditional stall and extend to the floor. They’re also designed to eliminate sight lines from outside the stalls.
The high school plans to have the bathrooms monitored just like the other restrooms: with hall monitors and administration who are encouraged to use the gender neutral restrooms for increased adult presence.
“While we realize that some of these updates may feel new and different to us, the idea that Berkley High School works hard to create safe environments for all students is certainly not new or different,” Meloche said. “We’re very proud of the fact that our students constantly push us to become better at what we do which, in turn, keeps us progressing forward.”