Indoor vape use has Garden Valley School Division (GVSD) officials looking to install vape detectors in some schools. While vaping isn't exclusively happening in the high schools, Superintendent Dan Ward says that is where use is the highest.
"Certainly, our principals and our teachers and our staff and our parents are concerned," he said. "They're concerned because of the health impacts of vaping and what we don't know about the long-term impacts of vaping, especially for young people and our teenagers."
Not only is vaping a health issue, added Ward, but groups gathering in washrooms, for example, to vape could make others uncomfortable with going in and using the facility.
This has led school division officials to examine what other Manitoba divisions are using for detection devices.
"The product that we are looking at and potentially looking at trialing would be a product that has a vape sensor," explained Ward. "Typically, they're put in places where students congregate to vape and if the sensor goes off, it sends a message to a school administrator to look into the matter. It's primarily meant as a deterrent. We don't want vaping in our schools."
While detectors won't entirely solve the issue, Ward noted it is one tool that is available to school divisions. By the time the Division has completed its research into the detectors, he said it could be early before they are potentially installed.
At the same time, he says GVSD wants to take an education-first approach to deter vaping in general by working with various organizations and guidance counselors to share resources and supports.
"We recognize that when students start to vape there's lots of factors that go into that; there's peer pressure, there's curiosity. But we also know that we have young people that are already dealing with addiction issues around vaping and e-cigarettes, and so they need those supports from schools and healthcare providers, but we also feel that we have to put in place some deterrents, and we have already."
Written with files from Pam Fedack