Admin updates new bathroom policies, monitoring in response to vaping, vandalism
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Recently, a surge in the use of electronic cigarettes among teenagers has caused many schools, including Stillwater Area High School, to try different tactics to end the “vaping.” E-cigarettes are devices that allow the user to avoid inhaling tobacco smoke, which can be very unhealthy, but still get a “buzz” similar to one users get from smoking a real cigarette. These devices are illegal to use or possess for people under 18 years of age, but this does not stop many under-age students from owning and operating them.
Since e-cigarettes contain nicotine, they are addictive, which can lead students to feel the need to use them during school.
E-cigarettes are banned in school, so students who feel the need to vape often go to the bathrooms to get their fix, since bathrooms can be very hard to monitor. This can make going to the bathroom very uncomfortable for some students, so the administration has put a new plan into action to take back the school’s bathrooms.
“We have asked teachers to be mega present around bathrooms during passing time,” Assistant Principal Matt Kraft said. “We have also propped bathroom doors open to allow for better supervision. These two changes have made huge gains in the ‘war on e-cigs.'”
The doors being open allows adult patrols or security personnel to check the bathrooms more quickly, since the vapor that e-cigs emit when used can be easily seen from outside the bathroom.
“When the door is closed, it’s almost like a barrier between them [and the rest of the school], and they’re realizing that it’s harder to do it with the doors open,” School Resource Officer Lindsey Paradise said.
Unfortunately, some students dislike the new policy because they feel like it gives them less privacy than they had previously.
“I think it’s stupid that they changed the bathroom policy for the other students based on a minority of students who like vaping in the bathrooms,” senior Wyatt Roth said.
However, many schools do not even have doors on their bathrooms, and the bathrooms at SAHS are composed of barrier walls so even with the doors open, students walking in the hallways can not see into them.
Even with this new progress, “vaping” is still an issue in the school, and students can help stop the problem by reporting any e-cigarette use they see on school grounds.
“Students can be vigilant by ‘taking back their bathrooms,'” Kraft said. “When they see vaping or vandalism, they should report this info to any trusted adult. The info will be kept confidential and we will investigate the potential perpetrators.”