South Dakota has “two confirmed cases of vaping related illness,” according to the South Dakota Department of Health. A school district in KELOLAND is taking action.
Dell Rapids School District Superintendent Summer Schultz says vape detectors are going in at both the Dell Rapids High School and Middle School.
“Well Dell Rapids is just like everyone else right now, we know there’s an epidemic with e-cigarette use, vaping, we interchange the two, but kids are doing it,” Schultz said. “And so in Dell Rapids we’ve decided that we aren’t going to sit back and to continue to allow kids some open areas to possibly continue to increase that habit, to freely do it.”
The devices should go online sometime this month. When they do, they’ll send a message to staff, alerting them if someone is vaping.
“So for example in our high school, we will have it go to the SRO, our school resource officer along with the administrators that we’ve chosen, or myself, we can decide where it goes,” Schultz said. “So once the detector is able to say something’s going on here, it then sends that silent message.”
Both she and Dell Rapids High School Principal Drew Bunkers emphasize deterrence.
“It’s not about catching those students that are doing it at the school, it’s about being able to deter them from doing something that we know is harmful to their body and being able to get that message home,” Bunkers said. “Sometimes as a teenager you just don’t want to hear that or you don’t want to believe that, and so just having a way to let them know that we’re worried about them and their safety and their health here at the school.”
“Our hope is just that kids go, ‘I just need to stop this. These guys care enough to put these in, to keep us from doing it, I’m just not going to do it,'” Schultz said. “And so that’s our ultimate goal.”
You can read about what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have to say about vaping here.