SAN ANTONIO – The North East Independent School District is confronting the rise in vaping.
“I definitely think it is an issue, still,” said Kathy Johnson, a counselor at Winston Churchill High School.
So far this school year, NEISD has expelled 47 students after finding out their e-cigarettes tested positive for THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana that gives users a high. There were 131 incidents that did not involve THC.
Johnson said the district has been taking several steps to address the vaping issue, including speaking to students in the classroom.
“It was really important for us to tell our students that we do have that technology, that we can test it right there on the spot within five minutes or so to see if there is THC, and also the serious consequences of having THC on campus,” Johnson said.
The district has also held meetings for parents.
NEISD created a website called Escape the Vape, which explains the health effects, the law and tips to quit.
Marisol Madden, a parent, said it has been a priority to speak to her son about this topic. She said she has worked closely with the school to bring awareness.
On Friday, students at Bradley Elementary School heard from Winston Churchill High School students. The high school students are part of the Winners Circle, a group that promotes a healthy and drug-free lifestyle.
“We’ve done this presentation, not only at Bradley, but we also did it Eisenhower to just promote it to our feeder schools, because we do think that it’s very important that they are educated, as well,” said Stephanie McBurnett, a senior high school student.
“I think when the Winners circle is able to reach out to other students. It’s a closer voice to them, and they hear it a lot better than if an adult were to talk to them,” said Luke Anthony, a high school senior.
NEISD said it has seen some improvement thanks to the steps it has taken to educate students and parents, but it will continue to talk to them about the harmful effects of vaping.
“I have seen a difference, and I think a lot of it is because of the education part that we’re doing. It’s not where we want it to be," Johnson said. “I do think students are still probably doing it, but I feel like we might have caught some kids that might be on that edge, or on that bubble, that might want to. They might seriously think about it twice before they take that first vape.”