Despite administrative efforts, students continue to vape in high school


Dominic Engoglia

School Resource Officer Andrew Duffy disposes of a confiscated vape. Junior class vice president Eric Bozkurt wants school officials to take a harder stance against vaping in the school. Bozkurt said, “The best option would be to enforce the no vaping more often. Instead of using announcements they should take action and enforce the rule.”

Dominic Engoglia, Guest Writer

The high school’s administration has worked to prevent vaping yet students continue to utilize the devices throughout the school.

School Resource Officer Andrew Duffy of the Mayfield Village Police Department finds students vaping and when this happens the school gives students consequences over time. Duffy said, “Right now, we have progressive discipline, so if you get caught with it you’re out for three days, five days, 10 days. Then after, it’s 10 days with recommendation for expulsion so increased consequences and more rules for citations for juvenile detention and fines. Possible chances of losing your driver’s license are the current consequences of using a vape pen.”

Duffy holds students accountable, can decide their consequences, and even take students to court. He said, “If I catch you and your attitude leads me to pursue legal charges with the possession of a vape pen or electronic device and you go to court and face fines and if you’re under 16 or under 18 and it’s a repeated offense, you will lose your license, so it’s more reactive than proactive approaches, and we can talk and give presentations. But, until people see the side effects, then it’s difficult to get people to stop.”

Principal Jeff Legan has tried to implement ways for students to become more educated on the topic and offers ways to help students do better and protect their future. He said, “Well we typically have different spot checks to make sure students are not vaping in the bathrooms. If the students are caught they are presented with a meeting with our SAY counselor and are given the chance to learn and grow on why it’s not healthy to vape.”

Assistant Principal for Student Affairs Dan Sapanaro knows when students are vaping and takes action when needed. He said, “Something we’ve noticed is students are in stalls together, more than two or three people is a major sign they’re vaping and some sort of sweet smell coming from the restroom, and students come to us telling us they can’t get in the bathroom because there are so many students vaping. So, once we identify the students are going at a certain time, we are spot checking and things like that.”

Sapanaro hopes that new vape detectors can lower the amount of vaping in the high school. He said, “They are very expensive but they do offer a way to monitor the bathrooms when we’re not there, and we are always trying to keep our students safe so obviously we don’t want them using any substance that would be negative to their health, so absolutely we would be willing to invest in different things to keep kids safe.”

Legan is excited about the vape detectors coming to the high school to combat vaping. He said, “Once the vape detector detects either vape or loud noise, so if there is fighting in the bathroom (for example), we will get notified and this is being installed as we speak.”

For next year, rule changes have been discussed that pertain to students using the bathroom. Legan said, “One issue is phones in the classrooms… because we are not going to allow kids to use phones in classrooms because what kids are doing is they are telling their friends to go meet up in the bathroom, and we know what’s going on.”

Junior class vice president Eric Bozkurt feels worried for the school and doesn’t think they put enough effort into the matter. He said, “For combating vaping I don’t think they do much and don’t try very hard to stop it. I say this because I go into the bathrooms, and I still see it every day. It’s pretty prevalent, and sometimes I can’t even use the bathroom because so many people are vaping in the stalls that we struggle using the restroom.”

Bozkurt knows what the students are doing and doesn’t think the school can stop it due to it being such a serious addiction. He said, “Doing it in school shows obvious signs that they do it outside of school meaning the only reason they would do it is that they do it outside of school like doing it with their friends to look cool in their friend group or it could be especially reasons like stress but it spreads outside of school because people go to parties and then people try it and it spread and it’s much more prevalent outside of school even more than inside of schools.”

Duffy knows what vaping can do to our bodies and hopes students and parents take the time to understand why the high school takes this so seriously. He said, “Students don’t know the effects of vaping because they don’t hit you right away and it comes over time. Students need to learn the effects like popcorn lung and lung cancer so they will stop doing it and protect themselves against it.”