Since the release of vape pens to the market, they have become increasingly popular, particularly in high schools, and Heritage is no exception. Administration has since been exploring ways to fix the problem in order to keep students safe from the harmful effects of vaping.
“I think there’s a lot of misinformation out there, so students don’t know what it’s actually doing to their body, or how much nicotine they’re actually inhaling, because they’re hearing different things,” says Assistant Principal, Mr. Brock Becker.
Like many other risky topics in high school, information behind vaping has become more than warped by students. Many students assume that because there’s no smoke, Juuls and other products are harmless to the body, but as Becker explains, this is far from the truth. Heritage administration has been trying to combat the misinformation by spreading awareness on the harmful effects of vaping. Case and point, they’ve put up posters outside the bathrooms with statistics on the matter.
“We’re starting to add it to our health curriculum. We’ve had some nights where parents have been invited to learn more about vaping,” says Becker.
While providing more information is one solution, punishment is another. Rules and punishments surrounding nicotine usage can be found in the Student Code of Conduct. Currently, based on district policy, the punishment is a mandatory one day suspension. With that said, Officer Evans explains that punishments can go further based on the situation.
“There can be legal ramifications. Typically a ticket and the person will have to appear in court,” states Police Officer Johnie Evans.
Many students find the punishments too harsh, but the majority of teachers think otherwise. Although only a handful of students are caught using nicotine products on the average week, countless more students continue to vape in the bathrooms, the parking lots, and even occasionally in the classroom, lighting up- or rather powering up- right under teachers’ noses and so the battle continues.by