Many of school administrators we spoke with were caught flat-footed as the vaping trend took off several years ago.
And they still are today.
It’s a tough issue to manage. Vaping devices are easy to conceal in hoodies, shirt sleeves, inside their shirts, and even hidden by their hands. They are also easily disguised as memory sticks, inhalers, pens, watches and other common classroom items.
A lot of school staff and administrators we’ve heard from have tried to stem the problem with a hodgepodge of approaches. From strict zero-tolerance policies that came with mandatory suspensions for students caught vaping to banning vaping paraphernalia, and even launched educational programs for middle school students and high school students that teach the dangers of vaping.
So how can we stop kids vaping in schools?
You’ll never completely eradicate kids form vaping, but what we’ve found that the greatest hindrance to solving the e-cigarette epidemic in schools is the lack of knowledge and teacher awareness about the scale of the problem.
Education and awareness are a critical step before using punitive measures to punish students caught vaping.
To combat vaping, here are three fantastic tactics schools we talk with are using.
First. non-profit organizations such as CATCH My Breath created a free curriculum for middle school and high school students. The material is designed to educate students on the chemicals in vaping pods and how they can affect their health. The curriculum also makes students aware of the sneaky yet intelligent marketing techniques used by vaping brands, as well as provides shows them important strategies to overcome the social media hype.
Another great tactic that teachers, and administrators are using, is having an anonymous reporting tool.
Offering an anonymous channel to communicate vaping will encourage kids to notify administrators when they spot any behavior change or any use of e-cigarettes in the school. Tools such as Kidio Tip Line help as a tool for students to identify vaping problems, early before they become a bigger issue.
The main focus of having a reporting tool is to encourage early intervention and prevention through awareness and communication. Besides helping to reduce vaping by kids in schools, the technique can also be used to report other incidences including things like fights, harassment, and bullying.
Teachers and administrators have embraced tactics like peer-to-peer education because they tend to be the most effective. They are very popular in combating things like smoking in schools and have proven to be very useful in the past especially knowing that traditional programs don’t work today.
It is imperative to avoid teacher-led peer programs, but important for teachers and administrators to encourage peer-led exercises instead. Research tells us that having students lead and deliver messages on avoiding vaping can be fun to their peers. Students heed to the advice offered by their respected peers as they understand their problems better.
It’s a lot more fun for a middle school student to hear that vaping is harmful from their role model who is a senior basketball player than from a teacher.
Programs that advocate for the eradication of Juuls in schools need a fresh approach, too. The technology and chemistry involved in vaping is entirely new with devices becoming smaller, prettier, and sweeter, it will require the best resources to create programs that help fight this vice.
Finally, education needs to be combined with measures that make it harder to vape. By that we mean adding an element of detection.
Honestly, getting away with vaping is part of the appeal initially for many students. From increased video surveillance to innovative vape detection technology, there are new strategies for discouraging vaping without adding staff to patrol the hallways and bathrooms of your facility.
It’s going to take a community to curb vaping in schools
Although much of the burden of vaping in schools lies on the shoulders of educators, all stakeholders must come together and play their part in helping kids beat vaping.
At Parallel Technologies, we want to help you use innovative technology solutions to help you address vaping in your schools.
To learn how to address vaping by getting teachers involved along with student-peers, fill out the form to the right of this page to schedule time with one of our team members.
Join your fellow school administrators, educators, and peers for a webinar about best practices to addressing these vaping struggles, once and for all: Click Here to Register!