Stafford County

Vape Detectors Installed in 2 Stafford County High Schools

Trial period will determine whether detectors curb student vaping

NBC Universal, Inc.

Two Stafford County high schools installed vape detecting devices to crack down on students vaping in school.

The FlySense detectors typically are placed in bathrooms or locker rooms where they can detect vape smoke. Then school administrators or security receive an alert through an app and can confront the student offender.

“Twenty-one years as a principal, this is probably one of the biggest problems I’ve seen that we’ve had to deal with,” said Stafford County Public Schools Executive Director of Constituent Services James Stemple, who previously was a school principal.

At a recent meeting, the school board’s student representative shared results of a survey in which vaping emerged as the number one concern.

Stemple says vaping jeopardizes student health and disrupts instruction.

“It’s an addictive problem,” he said. “Kids need to leave class to hit their vape. We’ve had kids in class trying to vape in class.”

The CEO of one company that makes vape detectors said after several months of use, many school districts see results.

“Typically, we’ll find a 85% to 90% reduction on vaping on campus,” Derek Peterson said.

The first day the detectors were activated this week in Stafford, there were five vape seizures, and at Colonial Forge High School, one student – a repeat offender – was charged with a misdemeanor for having a vape pen with THC.

Most students who are caught will face suspensions.

Stafford schools views this as a trial period to see if the detectors help curb vaping.

“That’s the hope, that it would be a deterrent to the behavior,” Stemple said.

One thing the detectors have already done is underscore the scope of the problem. The challenge right now is keeping up with all the alerts they are getting.

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