New Vape Detectors in LMS and LHS

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Eli Bridges and Wyatt Boyett (Senior)

Recently, Lebanon High Schools’ Principal Mr. Kevin O’Rourke, sent out a message making students aware of vape detectors installed in restrooms of Lebanon High School (LHS), Lebanon Middle School (LMS), and Western Boone Jr. Sr. High (WBHS) over fall break.

And they seem to be doing the job, getting vapes out of kids’ hands.

According to a source, who requested to remain anonymous, an estimated 15 nicotine vapes have been confiscated and a confirmed 5 THC cartridges have been confiscated at LHS alone since the installation. LMS isn’t much better. LMS’ assistant principal Mr. Jim McCune confirmed with me that since the installation, they have caught 2 kids with nicotine vapes. And one of the kids was 11-years old. Mr. McCune also stated “I didn’t want to catch anyone… I wanted to reduce the amount of vaping and tobacco use. Last year we confiscated nearly 80 vapes from kids. And 2 kids had THC.” Unfortunately, we could not find an email to reach out to any principals at WBHS.

Joy Kaylor of the Boone County Cancer Society (BCCS) confirmed “These were funded through a grant with the BCCS and The Community Foundation of Boone County (CFBC). Each of them contributed $15,000 in an attempt to slow the spread. These funds were then divided between LCSC and WBCCSC.”

Mr. O’Rourke said “I care about our kids deeply, I don’t just care about them now, but the future of our kids. The brains of our kids are still developing and the kids are putting toxic chemicals into their brain.”

“Since vaping is a new trend, we do not know the long-term effects, but by just seeing some of the short-term effects we know that they are not going to be good” said Kaylor. Some short-term effects of vaping include coughing, difficulty breathing, fever, nausea, cancer, and vomiting (lluh.org).

So, the goal of the people we spoke with remained clear. The goal was not to get kids in trouble and/or to suspend them from school. The goal was to look after the health and wellness of students. But unfortunately for the administration in the buildings, they have to enforce the policy when they find these things.

The policy at LCSC for possession of tobacco products:

1st Offense: 5 day Out-of-School Suspension and Tobacco Ticket issued by the School Resource Officer.

2nd Offense: 10 day Out-of-School Suspension and Tobacco Ticket issued by the School Resource Officer.

3rd Offense: 10 day Out-of-School Suspension and Tobacco Ticket issued by the School Resource Officer, and a recommendation for expulsion.
As we understand it, WBCCSC policy is similar.

1st Offense: 3-5 days of Out-of-School Suspension

2nd Offense: 5-10 days of Out-of-School Suspension

3rd Offense: An immediate expulsion

Mr. O’Rourke seemed frustrated with the big companies who he believes are marketing these products to young teens, stating “There are a lot of kids getting taken advantage of by these big marketing companies. (The companies will use the analogy of) ‘it’s not as bad as cigarettes.’ They aren’t marketing to adults; they are marketing to kids.”

And there was an argument in court within the last year about that. In the end of the case, Juul was ordered to pay nearly $439 million in a settlement. Juul felt they were doing no wrong and were simply helping people who smoked. Claiming “our vaping products could help adults quit smoking traditional cigarettes.”

If you are a someone who needs help to quit vaping, you can text DITCHVAPE to 88709. You may also scan the QR code at the top of this article.