The Student News Site of Derby High School

Panther's Tale

The Student News Site of Derby High School

Panther's Tale

The Student News Site of Derby High School

Panther's Tale

Page 1 – New additions detect vape smoke in DHS

With an estimated 14% of high school students – more than 2.5 million – vaping, DHS added vape detectors to bathrooms to combat the use.

“It was something that was looked at to try,” principal Gretchen Pontious said. “They (tried) it some places first within our district, and after that, we saw it was effective and made bathrooms a safer place. And then we decided to put the vape detectors in some restrooms.”

In the first week of school, 35 vape alarms went off and nine people were caught in possession.

While there are students such as freshman Hannah Jenkins and sophomore Tatum Tauer who like the addition of the detectors, senior Jaden Harris said there are some cons.

“People who don’t vape can get in trouble and searched potentially because the people in the area are vaping,” he said.

That happened to Tauer on the first day of school.

“It wasn’t scary but I didn’t know what to do in the moment,” sophomore Camryn Euke said. “I feel like I would have gotten searched if they didn’t find the person who was vaping.” 

There have been rumors that the vape detectors are upstairs only.

“It’s not necessarily upstairs and downstairs,” Pontious said. “They are throughout the building. Eventually, they might be in all the restrooms.”

Getting caught vaping adds points to a student’s matrix, which can affect whether a student plays sports or even can go to a dance.

“If you get caught vaping, it’s 20 points and the handbook specifies a three-day suspension the first time, five days the second and if you get caught a third time, then the student will have an expulsion hearing,” said Justin McCubbin, the sophomore assistant principal. “We are constantly examining and reexamining  the placement of them and what we have and what will be employed.”

“If you are caught with a vape, according to the Matrix, you get 20 points if it’s nicotine, and 25 points if it’s THC and there is also suspension days with that. 3-5 days depending on what it is” Pontious said.

The vape detectors are expensive.

Is the money worth it?

“I think if we are keeping students safe and we are trying to get vapes out of the building and having a safe place for students to go to the restroom, I think that is worth a ton because safety and security is the top priority,” Pontious said.

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  • M

    Mr. GuillemetteOct 11, 2023 at 7:54 am

    Great, factual reporting Makayla! 🙂 It’s great to see the Panther’s Tale is off to a good start. Thank you to you and fellow reporters for bringing to light the important happens at DHS.