Watertown High School takes action on student vaping

Local News

WATERTOWN, S.D. (KELO) – A recent survey shows a surge in eighth, 10th and 12th graders who use e-cigarettes. Nationally, the numbers have doubled in the past two years.

South Dakota is no exception. In fact, a lot of districts are stepping up efforts to stop teens from vaping at school.

Vaping is something that’s becoming more common. According to school officials, it’s happening at Watertown High School.

“Kids are finding ways to be secretive and discreet about it, and it’s happening at school, we know it is, we have students that have reported to us that other students have been vaping,” Watertown High School principal, Michael Butts said.

Having vape or tobacco products on school property is against policy. So there are consequences when students are caught vaping.

“It really starts out with detention and can become worse than that if it’s continued or repeated, but we do have a citation from our law enforcement officials because if you’re under 18 it’s not legal to possess, and we tell them it’s a citation of around $100 so sometimes that’s enough deterrent,” Butts said.

In the classroom, students are also getting education on topics such as vaping.

“Project success is a school based prevention, education and intervention program and what we do is we not only provide education, but also resources, that whether that be in school or the community,” project success coordinator, Wendy Olson said.

Olson helps make sure students are getting the right facts.

“To try to give them the most accurate and up to date information that I can, so when they go out and make their decisions, they have the correct information, because a lot of times what I hear is misinformation,” Olson said.

“What it is really going to take to make this change is we need to first of all be proactive in school as much as we can, there’s detectors out on the market and I don’t know if that’s going to solve it either, but be proactive at school, we need to lean heavily on our community, parents, and state to be proactive,” Butts said.

The principal says he’s seeing an increase in the number of vaping issues compared to last year.

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