Published on Feb. 26 2020
In Plain Sight
Students and administrators discuss the issue of vaping on campus.
By Elton Wong
Senior Travis Xu is a student who has been greeted by an unpleasant surprise in an AHS bathroom: vaping.
“I walked one time and saw him vaping. I became slightly annoyed, but I decided to continue with my business,” Xu said.
After that experience, Xu returned to class thinking about what just happened. The smell of vape still lingered in his nose. It was definitely an awkward situation for him having caught someone doing drugs on campus. He decided to just make a mental note of going to another bathroom next time.
“I feel slightly annoyed that I have to smell the vapor in the air, so I just go somewhere else to do my business,” Xu said.
Sightings of high school students vaping is not limited to AHS. A 2019 report from the National Institute of Health found that around 20 percent of high schoolers vape across the U.S. This number is estimated to continue to rise, and more schools will be affected by this new “wave” of teen drug users. Schools across the country have adopted new measures to combat on- campus vaping, and the AHS administration is starting to become more aware of this new issue.
“We noticed students have been brought in for vaping, and [it is] becoming a real problem,” assistant principal Kristian Hinz said.
To address the vaping that is happening on campus, the administration has implemented systems to prevent usage during school hours.
“We are doing regular bathroom checks, and we also close the bathrooms whenever there is a vaping situation,” Hinz said.
Although these protocols are set to decrease vaping in schools, it is the students themselves that are affected by regular bathroom checks and closures. Senior Geovanni Mojica expressed his frustration about the issue of bathroom closures due to vaping on campus.
“The closures are preventing me from using the bathrooms, and I usually have to walk to other ones; vaping at school is really annoying because I have to go in and do my business under the smell of vape,” Mojica said.
As freshmen, most students are already familiar with the health risks that comes along with vaping because of the vaping unit that is part of the freshman health curriculum.
“Vaping can contain major health risks that even science [is not] caught up with it entirely. It’s bad for your lungs, it’s bad for your heart, and it’s addictive,” health teacher India Rogers said.
Still, there continues to be students who vape on the campus. An anonymous senior who vapes believes that people vape on campus due to self- control issues.
“People have no self-control sometimes, so they decide to do it on campus instead of doing it at school,” anonymous said.
On top of educating students on the numerous health risks of vaping in health classes, AHS will continue to use their standard policies to prevent vaping in schools.
“We request that students don’t leave classes without a pass and stay inside for the last ten minutes of school,” Hinz said.
Ever since the establishment of these new protocols, their effectiveness have been shown to be beneficial.
“The administration is handling this problem very well, we gotten less people vaping this year than last year,” Hinz said. •
- Senior Geovanni Mojica
Photo Illustration | Sebastian Lopez
“The closures are preventing me from using the bathrooms, and I usually have to walk to other ones; vaping at school is really annoying because I have to go in and do my business under the smell of vape.”
“It’s really messed up because the bathroom closes, [so I] can’t go anywhere else to change. They close down the girls bathrooms as well. which is just unfair.”
- Senior Flora Wu
“It’s inconvient for me because I have to go across campus to use the restroom while the one closest to my first period is closed.”
- Senior Jasmine Sanchez
“I feel like vaping on campus shouldn’t be on campus because I don’t want to smell the vape residue when I use the bathroom.”
- Senior Albert-Josh Luna