Administration cracks down on bathroom vapers


Ezra Thaler

Newly added vapor detectors are seen in the third corridor bathrooms, notifying staff when vapor is detected.

During the week of Aug. 17, AWHS Administration installed vape detectors in every school bathroom, with the first one becoming operational Monday, Sept. 26. School administration aims to end students vaping in school bathrooms with the use of these sensors, which make a high-pitched ringing sound when triggered. 

Assistant Principal Nate Severin was one of the main facilitators in the installation process of the vape detectors. 

“We want to deter students from vaping in our restrooms. We get a lot of reports from students and parents that their students don’t feel safe using the restroom because of other students who go in there to vape,” Severin said.

The alarms caused confusion at AWHS; students and teachers alike believe that every time the alarm went off someone was vaping, when it actually may be someone tampering with the device. 

“If you hear an audible alarm, which is what people were hearing last week, like on Thursday and Friday, that means that people were tampering with it,” Severin said. 

When the alarm detects smoke or vaping, it sends a notification to the phone of certain administrators and staff through an app on their cell phones. The notified administrator or staff member can then go to the signaled bathroom. If they do not get to the bathroom in time to discover who had been vaping, they can check security cameras located outside each bathroom. 

Instead of punishing those who vape, AWHS administration will show their support through on-campus resources. 

“If students are caught vaping… we can support them to stop. So it’s not necessarily a school discipline issue, at least for our first offense. It’s more about how we can connect to resources through Wellness to help you stop vaping,” Severin said.

Being one of the most private places on campus, bathrooms are often used by individuals to vape, causing other students to feel uncomfortable and avoid using the bathrooms. AWHS Administration hopes that installing vape detectors will decrease the number of students vaping in bathrooms, creating a safer and healthier school environment.