Mid-Michigan schools are cracking down on vaping as doctors across the country continue to grapple with lung illnesses tied to e-cigarettes and vaping products.
School leaders in Midland are seeing success with devices that detect vaping.
“We saw a dramatic increase in students, like every other school district around here, increase in the use of vape devices,” said Matthew Wenzel, assistant principal at Midland High School.
Midland High School is battling the nationwide problem head on.
“Some students it’s a status symbol because everybody’s doing it, that's what we're hearing,” Wenzell said.
For those students who think it’s cool to vape in school, they've got another thing coming.
“[We’re] making a change so that these students don’t have long-term effects we don’t know,” Wenzell said.
That change is a vape detector, placed inside every bathroom throughout Midland High School and others in the district.
“It’s a health issue as much as it is a hindrance for our building to function,” said Midland Public Schools Superintendent Michael Sharrow.
Sharrow says he introduced the device after seeing an increase in vaping activity throughout the district and so far, it's working.
“We've been very pleased,” he said.
And it doesn’t just detect vaping.
“It looks like a modified fire alarm,” Wenzell said. “It picks up CO2, it picks up fire, it picks up vape, it picks up THC in vape. It also picks up aggression and tampering.
And once it detects any activity, an email is immediately sent to the principal and assistant principals.
“We then, if we're at our desk at the time, can then respond,” Wenzell said.
The device so successful, that they're planning to add it to other areas as well
“We're going to expand those to other common spots in the building that are high areas of use,” Wenzell said.