'It's poison': North Okanagan school cracks down on vaping
The principal of W.L. Seaton Secondary School in Vernon says kids are vaping in bathrooms and hallways
The principal of W.L. Seaton Secondary School in Vernon has sent out a letter warning parents about the increasing number of students vaping at school in the bathrooms, change rooms and even the hallways.
The letter was sent two days after Health Canada announced new measures to try and stop the rising amount of vaping among youth.
"Vaping has become an epidemic in North America," said Doug Rogers, substance abuse prevention counsellor for School District 22 in Vernon.
"Our job as educators is to protect the health of our kids. So, with that in mind, we have rules in place, because we can't have these things at school."
Shift in thinking
"There's a paradigm shift that's happened here, where some parents have, in fact, bought vapes for their kids and the juice for the kids," Rogers told Daybreak South host Chris Walker.
Rogers said there is a misconception that vaping is safe because "it's a vapour, it's no big deal."
"It dissipates quickly. I've seen kids blow it into their shirt," said Rogers. "So, there is just a vapour in the air. There's not that strong smell that you get with a regular tobacco cigarette."
Health Canada says some of the dangers of vaping include increased exposure to chemicals that can harm your lungs and possible nicotine addiction or poisoning, if it's a nicotine vape.
"Really, it's poison and that's what they're bringing into their body," said Rogers.
Students caught vaping at W.L. Seaton Secondary School will now face consequences.
"When kids don't follow the rules, we have to have some consequences in place that help them to make better choices," said Rogers.
The first time students are caught vaping, the vape will be confiscated and returned to the parent. The second time, the student will be suspended and the school will give the vape to the RCMP. And if there is a third offence, the student may be sent to the school board office where it will decide on what will happen next, he said.
"All kids are entitled to clean air and that's inside the school, the bathrooms, the hallways and so on."
The school is hosting an information session about vaping for students and parents in March, said principal Schmidt in her letter.
She also sent home an educational document about vaping.
"What we're really concentrating on is the education," said Rogers. "We're hoping parents will talk to other parents and demand clean air for their kids and healthier choices."
with files from Daybreak South