Schools in the Australian state of Victoria are taking drastic steps to prevent students from vaping on school grounds. Some schools are installing quiet vape detectors that confine children in bathroom stalls so instructors may check them for contraband.
Schools in Melbourne are reportedly installing the new device because they’re concerned about the dangers of allowing students as young as 12 to smoke on school premises. St. Bede’s College in Mentone, California, has installed the latest vapor-detection alarms.
According to Deputy Principal Mark Jones, the detectors were put in place after school-sponsored education workshops were ineffective. However, despite their efforts to increase awareness about the dangers of vaping, students continued to engage in the activity. “Of course, staff don’t want to be checking the toilets, but we try and do everything in our power to stop the kids from engaging in activities that are harmful to themselves,” he said, as per The Advertiser. “It’s a difficult one because they’re [vapes] so easy to conceal.”
Detectors are functioning so far, according to one Year 12 student at Mentone School.
Even when they aren’t doing anything wrong, many children are afraid of being trapped in the restroom. “I think the detectors are a good deterrent,” he said. “It makes you really question whether you need to use the bathroom and risk getting caught.” They include Marymede Catholic College (Sacred Heart College), Sacred Heart College (St Columba’s College), and St. Columba College (St. Columba’s College).
According to The Advertiser, a Frankston High School student was recently suspended for vaping.
Alcohol and Drug Foundation policy and advocacy knowledge manager Laura Bajurny has cautioned that locking pupils in restrooms might have an adverse impact.
She told the Herald Sun that “having feelings of belonging and connectedness at school, and having positive role models such as teachers and other school staff, are factors that can help protect young people from experiencing harm from alcohol and other drugs.”
In the case of young individuals, “a punitive approach may do more harm than good.” In one shocking example, a five-year-old Victorian was sent to the hospital after vaping at school, sparking demands from worried parents to tighten rules on smoking devices that may attract youngsters because of their fruit flavors.