Olentangy Local Schools to seek board approval for vape detectors

In this Wednesday, April 11, 2018 photo, an unidentified 15-year-old high school student uses a vaping device near the school's campus in Cambridge, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

DELAWARE COUNTY, Ohio - Olentangy Local Schools is trying to crack down on vaping by stiffening penalties and installing new tools.

Vaping is becoming a trend among teens, and doctors are still trying to determine the health effects.

"I've seen it as an educator, I've seen it as a father. I've confronted this in my own home, so I know the realities of it," said Randy Wright, Chief of Administrative Services at Olentangy Local Schools. "This is our first opportunity to really do something about it and offer a deterrent for our kids."

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As of this school year, if a student is a caught with an e-cigarette they could face a three-day out-of-school suspension. That could be reduced to one day only if the student meets with a certified chemical dependency counselor.

"The student is really able to delve into why they are using that substance, what's making them go to that as their outlet," said Allisha Berendts, Supervisor of Student Well-Being at Olentangy Local Schools. "Is it the stress? Is it the anxiety? Is it particular situations that are triggering that with them?"

The district is also seeking school board approval to move forward with the use of vaping detectors in high school bathrooms.

"This takes away the opportunity for them to do this in an environment that is not monitored," Wright said. "The product will then alert our administrators at the respective buildings and if they are in the area, they can go right to that location."

The project would cost more than $50,000.

If the board approves the detectors, Wright said they hope to have them installed prior to Thanksgiving break.

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