BEAUFORT COUNTY, S.C. (WTOC) - Teenage vape use has become an issue all over the country, and as parents and adults learn more about the effects of the substances inside, schools are cracking down on their use.
In Beaufort County, kids can put their entire education at-risk by bringing a vape to school.
Vapes can resemble a pen or even a flash drive, and even though they aren’t a new thing, they’re getting more and more discrete, so much so that Beaufort County Schools are fighting them in a new way.
“It is something that we are trying to overcome with our schools. We have noticed an increase in the number of students who have started to vape,” said Lakinsha Swinton, Director of Student Services. “We’ve had some incidents where students have been caught in schools vaping, so it is something we consider to be an issue in the community.”
The Beaufort County School District has been strengthening its efforts in the drug and alcohol education programs with one goal in mind: to educate kids on why they should not vape.
“The adults are learning more about vaping, so it’s kind of like we are playing catch-up where are students are a little bit ahead of us.”
School leaders hope students know they can’t vape without consequences. A student who gets caught vaping on a school campus will face punishments. Those consequences can be anything from in-school suspension to being sent to an alternative education program, and the district is not afraid to enforce those rules.
“We have had some instances where we have had students who have had to be disciplined because of vaping.”
They are also hoping students will realize the risks associated with vaping.
“If a student is caught on campus with a vape, parents are notified and they are disciplined according to the code of conduct, but in addition to that, we want to offer services, make referrals, make recommendations for parents to be able to seek support for their student, because these are things we are learning can be addictive.”
School officials are trying to get ahead of it by teaching parents what to look out for, whether that is glassy eyes or a change in friend groups.
Swinton emphasizes that that district is still learning about vapes. So far, there have been no vaping-related illnesses reported in Beaufort County that the district has been made aware of. They are hoping if they continue to educate parents and students against vaping, there won’t be any at all.