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How Vaping in the Bathrooms Affects WHS

How Vaping in the Bathrooms Affects WHS

As of late, the topic of vaping in schools has been coming up much more. Friends and peers of mine had been complaining about the grape-flavored smog in the bathrooms, or the kids swarming in the big stall; rumors went around about bathrooms closing. To smooth over speculation and try to get a better understanding of how the school is dealing with this, I interviewed Mr. Springer and Ms. Guzman. 

First, I’d asked when they thought this had started becoming a problem. Ms. Guzman shared that, “2018… 2017 was when I really feel like there were a lot of reports of it, when we as teachers were asked to go into the bathroom to be more vigilant, and to make sure we were clearing students out.” Most of the bathroom closings, I found out as well, were due to “graffiti and other vandalism.” The school does not plan to close any bathrooms due to kids vaping, since “you need to allow kids to access the bathroom… we are much more likely to do what you’ve seen, which is […] posting up on bathrooms.” While they’re not closing them, “we’d like to make sure that there are vape detectors in the bathrooms, and what that would do, it’s not like an alarm, but it notifies us immediately… and then we can use the cameras to locate those kids. It would make it much more difficult to do without getting caught.” 

Another thing I was curious about: what happens if you do get caught?  “The procedure is: we bring them down, then we test the vape for THC using; we have tests for that, that you wipe them down and get some of the residue oil from inside and you wipe that down, and if it is THC it will come up red, changes the color of those. If it is a nicotine vape […] you end up likely getting an in school [suspension,] if it is THC, you end up getting an out of school [suspension,] and obviously they get confiscated regardless. I believe we contact our school resources officer if its THC as well, and I believe we give them one warning? I mean you still get an out of school suspension, right, then the chance to take online drug rehabilitation classes to reduce that suspension. Then, if you get caught a second time, we go through that again and there’s also a fine from the police… Not to mention parent phone calls and other things like that.” 

Along with this insight, I interviewed a few students, randomly and anonymously. The responses varied a lot, and varied by grade. I interviewed a freshman that shared that she had never encountered anyone vaping here in the bathrooms; while a sophomore shared that it was almost every time she entered. Another person I interviewed guessed that it was probably around “2 out of 10 times” that he had encountered someone vaping while using the bathroom, the most recent time being the week before. Another student shared that they had never encountered anyone vaping to their knowledge, but another shared that it was almost every time she went. Overall, though, the topic wasn’t received well. When I asked the interviewees knew anyone who vaped in the bathrooms, I was met with an unenthusiastic “unfortunately,” from one person and a sigh from another.  

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The biggest complaints discussed were the smell, and the large groups of students gathering, and concern for their peers. “They probably shouldn’t be doing that. It doesn’t affect me, but it affects them.”  In the words of Mr. Springer, “please stop doing that. Everyone who doesn’t vape would appreciate if you stopped vaping. Not just the adults, but also the other students who just want to go to the bathroom.”

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About the Contributor
Tommy Miller
Tommy Miller, Editor/Staff Writer
Tommy Miller is a sophomore at WHS. He is a member of NAHS, Book Club, Youth Advisory Board, Drama Club, GSA, along with cast and crew in the theatre department. He reports on various hot topics, and spends his free time playing guitar, drawing, and listening to My Chemical Romance.
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