District 225 looks at 'real issue' of vaping
Smokin' in the boys' room?
Call the 1970s.
It's vaping in the boys' and girls' rooms that troubles Glenview High School District 225 administrators.
The school board earlier this week received its first briefing on vaping of nicotine and cannabis products since 2019. That was right when vapor detectors were being installed in Glenbrook North and Glenbrook South high schools, only to be interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Those detectors now have been installed.
"It's a very real issue," said District 225 Superintendent Charles Johns, though no specific numbers of incidents were offered Tuesday.
One in four students in middle and high schools nationwide uses vaporizers daily, according to the National Youth Tobacco Survey data.
Bill Eike, a Glenbrook North dean, said reasons for using include peer pressure, stress relief and crafty marketing that, for example, produced the flavored vape products favored by 85% of student users.
"We see one in four vape -- that means three in four are not, and shouldn't have to be around (those) that are using a vaping device. So this is for them as well," Johns said.
Presentations on vaping policies, consequences and dangers are offered in and out of school, be it through school health curriculum, community presentations in libraries or by agencies such as the Glenview Northbrook Coalition for Youth, which on Nov. 30 partnered with Glenview District 34 for a virtual seminar on vaping trends.
"The more information we can get to families early on, the better," Eike said.
When a vape detector is triggered, a text message and email is sent to several school officials, including school security, which will check the location, said Glenbrook South Dean Ron Bean.
Security camera footage is viewed to gain identities and link a time element. If a single student is identified and reasonable suspicion established, the student is sent to the dean's office. The student will be told what initiated the visit with the dean, and potentially undergo a limited search of clothing, pockets and backpack or bag.
For a student found to be using nicotine, consequences include notification of a parent, a vaping education course and, at Glenbrook South, referral to Glenview police due to village ordinance.
If multiple students are involved, there is no dean's office visit due to too much loss of class time and lack of reasonable suspicion. Parents or guardians still will be notified their child was near a detector that was triggered.
"The feedback that we've received from parents has been positive," Bean said.
If the product includes cannabis, board policy dictates additional and more severe consequences, starting with referral to police, suspension of up to 10 school days, and a substance abuse assessment for a first violation.
School board member Michelle Seguin suggested more virtual presentations on vaping so parents wouldn't feel they are in the "spotlight"; presenters said response increased when vaping information was distributed by email.
Board member Skip Shein wondered if stores could be "pushed" not to sell the products to students.
Board member Marcelo Sztainberg had a novel idea -- positive reinforcement, even a no-vaping competition between the high schools.
"I do think that if we catch somebody there do have to be punitive actions, but as a group behavior we may have to look at incentive," Sztainberg said.
Bean said the idea is to give students opportunities to make good decisions.
"If they're not making healthy decisions, we want to intervene to try and change those decisions," he added.