School officials point at one of the vape detectors. (Kim Tunnicliffe/WBZ NewsRadio)
WEBSTER, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Webster Public Schools have installed 15 new “vape detectors” in the middle and high schools to curb the prevalence of students vaping.
Superintendent Ruthann Goguen says this won’t solve the problem, but it will help.
“Vaping is a dangerous habit and a lot of our kids in society today are leaning towards vaping,” Goguen said. “They think it’s cool.”
Goguen says the installation of the detectors is part of the district’s ongoing fight against student vaping.
“We had an issue with the use last year and they closed down the bathrooms, and our kids had to sign in and sign out. Certainly that’s not the culture that we want in our schools,” Goguen said. “We want kids to be free and feel like this is their building.”
Bartlett High School Principal Fran Thomas says the goal is not to punish the students, but to encourage better habits.
“We want kids to be partners in this, not ‘it’s a prison and you can’t do this’—it’s like, ‘you shouldn’t do this, and this is why’ and we need your help,” Thomas said. “We don’t want to shut down the bathrooms. They’re responsible young adults.”
The district is also implementing tobacco and drug awareness education in health classes.
The detectors serve another important purpose—they pick up loud noises, and send text messages to school administrators about a potential fight occurring in the bathrooms.
“We think these detectors will help us with making teachable moments,” Goguen said.
WBZ NewsRadio's Kim Tunnicliffe (@KimWBZ) reports