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Schools in the Australian state of Victoria are going to extreme measures to stop children vaping on campus.
Some are installing silent vape detectors that trap students in toilet cubicles so teachers can search them for contraband, according to the Herald Sun.
The Melbourne news outlet claims some students as young as 12 are smoking on school grounds, which is why some schools are opting to install the new technology in an attempt to curb the potentially dangerous habit.
Mentone's St Bede’s College has installed the new vape-detecting alarms.
Deputy principal Mark Jones said the detectors were installed after information sessions at the school failed. While they might have raised awareness about vapes, it didn't stop pupils from carrying out the harmful practice.
“Of course staff don’t want to be checking the toilets, but we try and do everything in our power to stop the kids from engaging in activities that are harmful to themselves,” he said, as per The Advertiser.
“It’s a difficult one because they’re [vapes] so easy to conceal.”
One Year 12 student at the Mentone School told the Herald Sun the detectors were working so far.
He also said many students worry about getting locked in a bathroom even if they aren't doing something wrong.
“I think the detectors are a good deterrent," he said. "It makes you really question whether you need to use the bathroom and risk getting caught.”
Marymede Catholic College, Sacred Heart College, St Columba's College are three Victorian schools believed to have already installed the detectors that can pick up vape smoke.
A student at Frankston High was recently suspended after they were caught vaping, according to The Advertiser.
Some schools are even locking bathrooms in between recess and lunch breaks, whereas others are introducing a bathroom pass system.
But locking students in bathrooms could have a detrimental effect, Alcohol and Drug Foundation policy and advocacy knowledge manager Laura Bajurny has warned.
“Feelings of belonging and connectedness at school, and having positive role models such as teachers and other school staff, are factors that can help protect young people from experiencing harm from alcohol and other drugs,” she told the Herald Sun.
“Adopting a punitive approach may cause more harm than good, especially to vulnerable young people.”
In one shock case, a Victorian five-year-old was rushed to hospital after vaping at school, prompting calls from concerned parents to place tighter restrictions on the smoking devices that may appeal to children due to their fruit flavours.
Featured Image Credit: Pixel-shot / Alamy Stock Photo. Lbeddoe / Alamy Stock Photo.
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