The addition of vape detectors and menstrual products to restrooms


Neve Marin Rue Galmarini

AWHS’ new all gender restroom in the second corridor will provide dispensers for menstrual products.

As of Jan. 2022, the AWHS administration, in collaboration with the Central Marin Police Department (CMPD), has applied for a grant to receive funding for the installation of vape detectors in all student restrooms across campus. The AWHS administration considered adding vape detectors in recent years, but due to the cost, they have never been purchased. Along with the installation of vape detectors, AWHS is looking to provide menstrual products in the restrooms.

After noticing the usage of e-cigarettes in school bathrooms, AWHS administrators decided vape detectors were the most efficient way of determining which students are vaping in bathrooms.  The school believes that, rather than catching and punishing the perpetrators, the vape detectors will be a next step to provide  support for students who may struggle with addiction.

“If you do get caught [vaping in the bathrooms], it [creates] more opportunities for [administrators] to reach those students that might need help,” Severin said.

An AWHS boys bathroom in the second corridor, which is one of the restrooms students use as a place to vape. (Neve Marin Rue Galmarini)

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, as of 2021,11.3 percent of high school aged students in the U.S reported current e-cigarette usage. AWHS is no stranger to the issue of vaping, and school administration believes that getting students help rather than punishing them is a more effective way to stop students from vaping.

“We see vaping as a health issue. We’ve stopped suspending [students] for vaping and smoking, it’s all about connecting students to resources, to Wellness, to substance use counseling, to substance use education,” Severin said. “At the same time, you’re not allowed to vape at school, we don’t want students vaping at school.”

AWHS administration will know by Jun. 2022 if the grant for installing vape detectors is approved and, if so, the detectors will be installed prior to the 2022-23 school year.

In addition to installing new vape detectors in restrooms on campus, AWHS administration collaborated with students in Peer Resource to create a plan to provide menstrual products in all restrooms on campus. Rather than providing products in the Wellness Center and front office, students will have access to necessary products in the restrooms. AWHS administration hopes that this will help students feel more accommodated and safer on campus.

AWHS administration hopes that these new installations for the 2022-23 school year will make students feel safer in campus restrooms.