Barnstable High School Takes A Step Against Vaping


Photo by Ava Lubash

The new vape detectors attached on the ceiling on the bathrooms.

Ava Lubash, Staff Writer

Companies have made a comeback in recent years where they have begun to target younger audiences with vaping devices. These devices uphold the same amount of nicotine that is in one pack of cigarettes, if not more. This form of vaping is more accessible to the youth and is done so more discreetly. What has become the most appealing to teenagers is the fact that they are flavored making it more enjoyable to consume. 

Barnstable High School recently placed vape detectors in all of the school bathrooms due to a high number of students who take part in this activity during school hours. These vape detectors are designed to monitor the quality of air and detect vaping chemicals – including nicotine and THC –  when present. 

“They just had me empty my pockets, take off my jacket, lift up the bottom of my pants so my socks were visible, and got padded down lightly,” said sophomore Renee Montcalm, “I was a bit nervous at first but then Mr. Pyy assured me that it is simply protocol.” 

From word of mouth and the website it is said that the deans are notified when one of the sensors goes off and are able to locate the people who were in the bathroom during this time. These students are then searched by an administrator to make sure that they do not have a device on them. The searching process consists of emptying out pockets, checking waistbands and socks, while also jiggling out pants and sweatshirts. If a student is found to have a vaping device on them, consequences like suspension will fall into place. 

“We just want students to stop. Just stop. Students should be allowed to have a good bathroom environment. Safety is our number one priority and quite frankly, health is also a part of that” said Scott Pyy, Assistant Principal . 

The consumption of nicotine can result in severe lung diseases such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis, asthma, and not to mention even lung cancer. In a smaller aspect, with studies made and supported, it can cause an increase in anxiety, depression and the inability to focus. Tobacco companies took over the youth throughout the 1970s to1980s specifically, but soon people started to realize the effects and eventually the numbers of nicotine consumers began to die down. However, the marketing of these electronic devices has caused a spike of users again. To learn more about the effects of nicotine click here.

Although the vape sensors have created a decrease in the usage of vapes, some students are afraid to go to the bathroom because they’re intimidated by the search process. 

“I’m not gonna go to the stupid bathroom if I’m going to get searched” said sophmore Laina Nickerson. 

It is not that these students have anything to hide, but rather the overwhelming anxiety of being pulled aside and being searched even as an innocent student who just needed to use the bathroom. Many students feel it comes off irritating when they just want to get back to class. 

“One thing that gave me the most uncomfortable feeling was seeing all the people I knew as I was being pulled aside to one of the Hubs because it seemed like I had done something wrong, when really I just needed to go pee,” said sophomore Ashley Walantis.  

This is definitely one of the downfalls, but it’s important to look at the bigger picture that the only way these searches can decrease is if they search everyone. It is only fair or else it would lead into another topic of pinpointing specific people, which would be considered profiling. Look at it like this, when you’re at the airport you have no problem going through security and being scanned along with your bags, right? That’s because it is for your own safety and security.