Vape sensors proposed for Charlotte County schools

Reporter: Ashley French
Published: Updated:

Breathing in someone else’s smoke is dangerous, whether it’s cigarettes, cigars, or, nowadays, vapes.

While that sounds like a problem that’s outside, kids are vaping on the school grounds.

That’s why Charlotte County School District is looking to add vape sensors in schools to combat the issue.

“I think every year when we look at the data, we’ve seen an increase in these devices being used, and now they’re being used with THC as well and the concern of safety that we have for our students,” said Jack Ham, director of School Support for Charlotte County Schools.

Within the last year, the district has caught over 400 students vaping on school grounds.

“We’re seeing those numbers increase, so we’re going to be very proactive of trying to get those numbers down and get our students off those devices,” Ham said.

Members of the district’s vape task force are proposing more vape sensors be added inside all of its bathrooms throughout a majority of its schools.

“How they work is that once the vape is extracted into the ceiling, the sensor will go off. It doesn’t have an alarm or anything like that administration is notified via text and email. We’re gonna have well over 200 sensors throughout the district,” Ham said.

Along with the sensors, cameras will also be installed outside of each bathroom. If a student is caught, they will face harsh punishments.

Within the past year, members of the district’s vape task force met 14 times to collect data and research and resources they plan to present in the next school board meeting in hopes of getting approval.

“We will be bringing that all together to the board so they can see the hard work that’s been going on all year to take this first big step into combating this issue,” Han said.

The next school board is scheduled for Tuesday, May 7.

If approved, the district plans to have the vape sensors installed before the next school year.

So far, the district only has four sensors installed last fall at Charlotte High School in Punta Gorda and two each at Port Charlotte and L.A. Ainger middle schools.

Now, they’re proposing that it be added to all of its bathrooms in hopes of combatting the problem.

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