District approves 29 new vape sensors in schools


Photo by and used with the permission of Vaporesso

In order to prevent the usage of vapes, more vape sensors will be installed in the high school and middle schools.

Emma Harper, LZ Life Editor

The Board of Education approved the installation of 29 new vape sensors in the high school and middle schools on April 13. This decision comes after vape sensors were installed as a trial in select bathrooms throughout the high school on January 31. The cost of the new vape sensors at the high school level would be $61,259 in addition to the sensors bought in January which totaled $18,500. In total, the district will have spent $109,759 on vape sensors and their installation.

The sensors are set to detect THC and vaping products and will send an alert to security and administrative staff if either is picked up according to Danielle Stevens, district safety manager.

“Following an alert, security or administrative staff will report to the alert location and will escort all students in that bathroom to the dean’s office. If students have left the space prior to adults arriving, security footage will be used to determine who was in the bathroom at the time the sensor was activated,” Stevens said.

The day they installed the vape sensors, Lucy Kopp, sophomore, was using the S hallway bathroom when an administrator came in and told Kopp that she needed to wait outside because someone had been tampering with the vape sensors. The two other students and Kopp were allowed to return back to class but were told they would need to go to the dean’s office if it happened again.

“It’s really scary because now you have the threat that you’re going to be called down to the dean’s office for something that you didn’t do. I understand why they have [vape sensors] but it’s not fair to punish people that aren’t doing [anything wrong]. It just causes unnecessary fear and anxiety,” Kopp said.

Another student, Sasha Bryukhova, sophomore, was walking out of the bathroom near the cafeteria when a security guard asked her to wait in the hallway. Bryukhova and another girl who was in the bathroom at the time were then brought to the dean’s office. They waited in the dean’s office for around ten minutes and then were told they could go.

“Nobody told us anything. And then they just said you’re free to go,” Bryukhova said. “I do wish they told us before letting us go that they’d figured it out or whatever, but they didn’t really tell us much.”

Although Bryukhova wished there was more communication around the vape sensors she still believes that they are helpful.

“I think this will limit the amount that people vape because I think [people who vape] will be worried so even if it’s a false alarm, I think it’s better to be safe than sorry,” Bryukhova said.

The vape sensors are meant to reduce the number of students vaping both at the high school and middle school levels.

“The ultimate goal of the entire administrative team is to ensure that District 95 schools are safe for all and that students who are struggling with substance use receive the support that they need,” Stevens said. “The installation of vaping sensors is just one component of a comprehensive approach to ensure that students are making safe choices and that students with substance use issues are getting connected with outside resources, such as assessment and counseling to support their needs.”