Vaping in the bathroom at Buffalo High School has become a problem, especially with students having the ability to put other drugs inside vaping devices. Staff and administration are seeking ways to eliminate the problem, including increasing awareness, more frequent bathroom checks, and considering changing the bathrooms themselves.
According to School Resource Officer Derek Jacobson, on average, two kids get caught vaping per day. They get devices taken away and receive school punishments. Teachers and staff are trying to find a solution to make this stop.
In the US, the amount of students vaping in high school has doubled since last year according to CBS News. It is the largest single-year increase since 1970 with marijuana smoking.
Counselor Mark Jones, like most adults at BHS, is scared of what will happen to students that vape because nobody knows the effects of this trend because it is so new. Nicotine is a highly addictive chemical and vaping also contains flavors and additives that could be damaging to users’ lungs or body. He said his job isn’t to bust people vaping, but if he sees obvious activity, he will go see what’s going on.
Recently, the administration floated the idea of taking the bathroom doors off their hinges to combat this issue. A final decision hasn’t been made, but some feel like it would be effective.
“I would support taking the bathrooms doors off,” Jones said, “but I don’t know if they are.”
Aaron Starry supervises the parking lot, and he says he does not often catch kids vaping in the parking lot anymore because “kids are actually really good at hiding it.” He said he has caught a lot of people vaping in the bathroom. He also thinks that the doors should be taken off to make catching kids easier.
Officer Jacobson has a neutral opinion on the bathroom doors but does not think they will actually come off. Many parents have problems with that idea because of privacy reasons, but he says that vaping at BHS is a problem the school is taking seriously.
If students are caught vaping when they are under 18, students will get it taken away, receive a tobacco ticket and school punishment. Students over 18 will get it taken away and school punishments for vaping in the school as well.
Students are beginning to put other drugs in their vapes and not realizing it carries a much more severe punishment. Jacobson is in charge of the criminal part of this issue, but school staff members are the ones who can search students for vapes if there is suspicious activity.
“I feel bad that kids feel like they can’t even go to the bathroom because of everyone vaping,” one staff member said
Junior Kolbe Mendan feels that the doors can come off and it’s not an invasion of privacy. He states that he sees vapers in the bathroom 80% of the time.
Other students have said, “I don’t care if people do it, but I just won’t.”
“It’s my choice,” a senior said. “I am hurting myself so, I don’t know why they care.”
Vaping has been getting increasingly more popular across the entire country, with 50% more kids vaping than smoking traditional cigarettes. According to the National Institutes of Health, more than 37% of seniors have vaped within the year, which has gone up 10% from last year. It is even getting popular with smaller ages, they say that more than 6% of 8th graders have also vaped in the past month.
According to CBS news, 1 in 17 high school seniors use marijuana every day, which was the same as the year before but vaping marijuana has risen. Health officials say that nicotine is harmful to the developing brain, and students who vape today are more likely to smoke regular cigarettes and other harder drugs later on.