Crackdown On Vaping


Vaping. The love of some teens and the bane of others. However, there’s been a slightly better smell and visibility in the boys bathrooms as of late, One is not immediately greeted by a thick haze of fruity smelling smoke. I found this to be somewhat out of the ordinary, and I have made it my mission to investigate why.
Vaping most definitely has not disappeared at Berkley High School, but has it improved? I vividly remember my first day of 9th grade, not because it was emotionally noteworthy, but because it marked my first Berkley High experience with the bathroom vapers. I can still remember during a passing time, there were just under a dozen boys of all different grades vaping in the bathroom. The bathroom air became so concentrated with second hand vapeI started coughing.
That same smell still exists in the bathrooms to this day, but to a much lesser extent. And the number of boys that occupy it have also seemed to see a slight drop as well. But to answer the big question of why, I knew the first place to start were the people who knew these halls like the back of their hands: Berkley Highs hall monitors.
One hall monitor, Mr. Green, sheds some light on some of my inquiries. First I had to put the obvious question to rest, whether there has truly been a decrease in kids vaping. To this, Mr. Green’s answer was a simple yes, confirming this observation was not a fiction that I had made up in my head. I had some more investigative questions though, for this veteran of the halls, which was “What prompted this decrease?”
“Student outcry,” Mr. Green says. “The students had gotten so fed up with the horrid smell and crowded bathrooms that they went to us and made mass complaints to us, letting us know how out of hand this bathroom vape issue had become.”
This was fascinating to me that student voices were the initial spark that led to change even a small one such as this. However, I asked Mr. Green more burning questions I had, so that I could understand the response being taken.
“Putting it simply, we took action,” Mr. Green continues,“We informed the principal and our liaison about the matter and made the first steps towards truly ending this horrid practice that has been going on in this school. By simply walking in the bathrooms regularly and randomly, we have been able to bust some of the perpetrators. In addition to the students who are tired of the bathrooms being closed in part to these foul activities, we are able to say that we are putting into place the steps to make sure that no longer happens.”
Mr. Green’s interview allowed me to understand how much work went into the active response to this issue because of student outcry. Although we now know what prompted this slight decrease in the horrid nicotine practice, I think that there is more to this story . It’s important to look at other points of view about what has been done to decrease bathroom vaping.
The first one I was interested in getting was Berkley’s principal Andrew Meloche. According to Green, Meloche has been going into the bathrooms to check on vaping activities, but I had some other questions I wanted answered. Since the principal is the head of school, how he responded to this student outcry is crucial in order to put all the pieces together.
According to Meloche, there have been a number of measures that have been put in place to decrease vaping. “First, we make sure that hall monitors have a regular rotation into the bathrooms to check on any activity,” Meloche says. “We also have kindly asked staff who feel comfortable to use student restrooms, because we believe adult presence can deter students from participating in these kinds of activities,” he adds.
“Another future measure is a vape sensor that will quickly alert us when vaping is going on, and we can quickly deal with the issue,” Meloche concludes. Meloche has further confirmed that this issue has been given a lot of attention recently by school officials. His mentioning of a vape sensor really highlights the prominent issue vaping has become, and the school administration’s determination to end this revolting activity in the bathrooms once and for all.
However, as I’ve researched the impacts of vaping, I realized that the desire to rid the bathrooms of vaping has just as much to do with health concerns as it does with simple annoyance. According to John Hopkins Medicine, vaping has been heavily associated with severe heart and lung diseases.
Berkley junior John Coleman has his own personal thoughts on this. “I don’t vape and never have because of its severe health effects,” he says. “Furthermore, a lot of my peers don’t realize that when they vape in a closed space like a bathroom, secondhand smoke can really cause some serious health risks for anyone in that general area.” Coleman brings up some serious points here that vaping is not just a smelly nuisance for bathroom goers, but is a harmful activity that can even affect the people not using the nicotine product.
Overall, I have found that Berkley’s vaping issue is being addressed. After hearing from students, teachers, and administrators in the school, it has become clear that a clear and concrete plan of action has been put into place in order to stop vaping in our schools bathrooms. The bathroom has a clear and important function. It is there for students to quickly attend to their private needs, and hopefully these steps being taken is a hopeful sign students will be able to do this without hindrance.