Vape nation

As vaping increases among students, schools are increasing regulations against it


Photos courtesy of John Francis '18

This photo was taken off school grounds.

Adrian Doan '19, Page Editor

GPPSS Superintendent Gary Niehaus sent an email to parents, students, and staff explaining the trend of “vaping” at South, and gave notice of a related amendment to the Student Code of Conduct.

The email, which was sent on November 29, referenced the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse for facts on vaping; it also confirmed that, as of Dec. 1, vaping would be considered as a form of smoking in the Code of Conduct and that punishments would reflect this.

“As you know, safety is our first consideration for all GPPSS students. During the past several months, adolescent use of electronic cigarettes, commonly called ‘vaping’ has escalated in many secondary schools,” Niehaus states in the email. “GPPSS secondary schools have not been immune to this increase.”

This current discussion of vaping at South stems somewhat from earlier incidents covered by The Tower this year, in which students were caught vaping in school restrooms. According to assistant principal Cindy Paravano, the administration met after the incidents to discuss ways to prevent this inappropriate behavior, which has culminated in this amendment to the Student Code of Conduct.

“(A student found to be vaping) will be issued a temporary separation of three (3) days for a first offense,” Niehaus stated.  “A second offense will result in a five (5) day temporary separation. Third and any subsequent offenses will result in suspensions up to ten (10) days”.

These new rules set the official guidelines for how the administration will respond to any subsequent incidents, but for some students such as Samantha Savage ’19, they are too strict.

“The administration’s punishments on the students are much too harsh, and they need to put it all into perspective,” Savage said. “Putting a kid into a suspension for that long seems like an overreaction”.

Savage understands that the administration is attempting to prevent vaping incidents, but she does not believe that this deterrent policy will help. Riley Barbour ’20 was also not surprised by the administration’s response but is skeptical of its effectiveness as well.

“I almost expected to hear about something like this after all the controversy and incidents involving vaping in the bathrooms,” Barbour said. “But I still do not think the administration has a good understanding of how hard it will be to effectively crack down on vaping.”