As vaping becomes increasingly prevalent among K-12 students, schools are turning to advanced technology to tackle this growing challenge. E-cigarettes, also known as vaping pens, have become the most popular tobacco product among middle and high school students, with aerosols containing nicotine, THC, and even dangerous substances like fentanyl. The addiction and negative consequences associated with vaping have spurred schools to take action.
In response to this epidemic, K-12 schools are adopting vaping detection technology to detect and deter vaping incidents on their campuses. These devices, known as environmental sensors or vaping detectors, have proven to be effective tools in combating this problem.
Avoyelles Parish School Board’s Success with Environmental Sensors
Avoyelles Parish School Board, serving over 5,000 students across 10 schools in central Louisiana, has taken proactive measures to address rampant vaping among its student population. Rebecca Spencer, the district’s technology coordinator, is spearheading a pilot program that utilizes Verkada environmental sensors in one of the district’s high schools.
Vaping often occurs in school bathrooms, away from the watchful eyes of faculty and staff. Environmental sensors have become crucial in identifying these incidents. Avoyelles Parish School Board plans to install these sensors in all of its schools as part of a comprehensive strategy funded by a healthy behaviors grant.
When a vaping aerosol is detected by these sensors, discreet alerts are sent to administrators. The reaction from both staff and students has been positive, with the sensors creating a safer and cleaner environment in the restrooms.
Soter Technologies’ Vape Detectors Enhance Reporting Processes
Jamal Colson, the principal of Bellport Middle School in New York’s South Country Central School District, faced a vaping problem that required a rapid response system. With close to 850 students, Colson needed a technology that could address vaping reports quickly without causing false alarms or disrupting the learning environment.
Colson opted to implement Soter Technologies’ FlySense Vape Detectors, which were easily installed by the IT team within half a day. When the detectors detect vaping, alerts are sent via text message and email to the school’s security personnel, allowing other staff members to focus on their primary responsibilities.
This technology has significantly reduced instances of vaping on campus, estimated to be as high as 70%. Students appreciate that they no longer need to confront their peers about vaping, as the responsible adults are promptly informed of the behavior. While some areas may still evade the sensors’ coverage, Colson suggests strategically placing the detectors in the hotspots where vaping is most likely to occur.
Surveillance Cameras Reinforce Vaping Detection Efforts
Jeffrey Boulais, the IT director at Salmon River Central School District in Fort Covington, N.Y., understood the need for an alert system paired with video surveillance to address vaping incidents in his district. After thorough research, Boulais chose Verkada’s environmental sensors and cameras.
Verkada’s system was user-friendly and easily integrated with their existing security cameras. Boulais initially installed the system in a middle and high school bathroom. Impressed with the initial results, sensors were subsequently installed in all the bathrooms within the middle and high schools.
The rapid identification of students involved in vaping incidents has saved time and prevented instructional disruptions. By leveraging video surveillance and environmental sensors together, teachers can focus on instruction while security personnel address vaping incidents promptly.
Emphasizing the Importance of Wraparound Services
While the implementation of vaping detection technology is instrumental, it is crucial to view these devices as part of a comprehensive approach to tackle the larger problem. Rebecca Spencer from Avoyelles Parish School Board emphasizes that sensors are not a stand-alone solution and are used in conjunction with counseling and educating students about the detrimental effects of vaping.
The Northern Kentucky Institute for Strategic Prevention advocates for a three-tiered approach to vaping elimination, involving prevention, intervention, and cessation programs. Schools, such as Bellport Middle School, also provide social-emotional learning opportunities and education about vaping’s impact on health and development.
Vaping detectors aim to address the issue while simultaneously teaching students about the harmful effects and providing them with the necessary support to quit this addictive habit. The ultimate goal is to create a healthier and safer environment for students to thrive.
As the vaping epidemic continues to affect young people across the country, schools are increasingly investing in advanced technology to combat this issue. Environmental sensors or vaping detectors have proven to be effective tools in identifying and addressing vaping incidents on school campuses. By implementing these detection systems, schools can protect students’ health and well-being while promoting a productive learning environment.