Student vaping closes campus bathrooms

Rachel Lawson, Reporter

Due to an increase in student vaping, school bathrooms near the locker room and Little Theater were closed last week. They were reopened today Monday, November 20th.

“It became progressively more observable that kids were in there vaping,” Principal Vicki Sherwood said. “Tobacco is not allowed on campus, and vaping is considered a tobacco offense.”

Because the closing was temporary it did not violate school health codes which mandate that there are one per 85 male students and one per 50 female students.

Despite bathrooms being unlocked, vaping violations are still prevalent, and have been for a long time. In the past few weeks students began reporting it to administrators who were able to verify their statements using cameras placed outside of the locker bays.

“I’ve received complaints from students,” Assistant Principal Joe Mismas said. “I’ve heard from parents, I’ve heard from our district security person and I’ve heard from staff members that kids are vaping in the bathrooms.”

In response to this, administration then closed the locker room bathrooms, only to have the students who were vaping move down to the Little Theater bathrooms.

“So we locked both [bathrooms],” Sherwood said, “and kept the ones where we could observe more closely open.”

While this did temporarily curb on-campus vaping, restricting bathrooms created an issue for students trying to use the bathroom between classes. Lines grew until students were standing outside of the bathroom door in both Sherwood’s Forest and the cafeteria. Because students had to wait for such extensive amounts of time, they were often showing up late to class.

“If we’re hearing that we don’t have enough bathrooms,” Mismas said, “we have to address that in a different way.”

After observing these issues regarding bathroom limitations, administration is considering other approaches.

“There are a couple of devices that you can purchase and have installed so that it would send a text or an email to the administration if someone was in there vaping,” Sherwood said, “ so that’s one option.”

To stop students vaping in school bathrooms, the school must be proactive, Mismas said. If students see someone vaping in the bathrooms or on campus they can talk to an administrator or staff member, or leave an anonymous note in the office.