Fossil ridge SRO says students are ‘guinea pigs’ for vaping

Devices confiscated by Fossil staff.

Leena Jones

Devices confiscated by Fossil staff.

Leena Jones, Reporter

Vaping has become very popular since it started in 2006, especially amongst teenagers. From the colorful packaging of vape pens. to the 15,000 different flavors, it is clear to see that it’s targeted towards adolescents. With the myth that vaping is a safer and healthier alternative to smoking it’s obvious teens will think it is safe to use and there is no harm.

With the increase of vaping amongst young adults, the amount of use in school has increased as well. 

“When I first started in 2017 as an SRO, that was when vaping became the next big thing, and it was rampant. Like a lot. It’s tailored back a little bit, I think it makes its way outside or it’s in bathrooms. But I mean, I did see it just the other day,” Fossil Ridge High School SRO, Officer Weis said.

At first students were vaping in classrooms and hallways. Seeing the consequence of vaping on school grounds, most moved to the restrooms and/or hidden outside areas. Students are being more aware of their surroundings when they vape.

“Vaping on a first offense is a small suspension. So usually we do like two days suspended, and we defer three. So in all, it’s technically a five day suspension, we’ll make them go out for two, if they agree to meet with our wellness counselor here on campus,” Fossil Ridge Dean of Students, Deana Kochis said.

If they get caught again after 1 or 2  previous suspensions they could be facing expulsion. It’s most common for students to be caught vaping by other students, especially in the restrooms.

“We have a population of students here who use things like safe2tell or just come into my office to say, there’s a group of students in the bathroom, I think you should go and investigate,” Kochis said.

Whenever Kochis does catch someone vaping, she will bring them into her office and search their bag. After that Kochis would have a conversation with them about why they are vaping and then parents are brought in.

“I think kids are guinea pigs right now and that’s why it’s so popular because when you look at a pack of cigarettes how many warning labels are on the pack of cigarettes that says like, if you smoke this, you will die. You know, that’s basically what it says. If you look at, you know, any kind of product, now it just says warning nicotine in it. It doesn’t really give you the severe consequences,” Weis said.

As most people have realized how awful smoking is for you and what impacts it has on your health and quit because of it. Officer Weis believes that future generations will do the same with vaping.

“My advice to kids is be smart. You know, when you’re going to experiment, or if you’re going to bring that stuff to school, you take an inherent risk. So you can’t cry foul, if you get caught. Because you brought that to school. If you are suffering from stuff, or if you’re having troubles with it, we have plenty of staff here, myself included, that can help you down that route, because our goal is to build a foundation for you here So that when you become an adult, you don’t become an addict,” Weis said.

If you see someone vaping, using drugs etc. at the school, use safe2tell to report it  to the school, anonymously.