Vape Sensors Installed In Dickson County Schools

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DICKSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — Vape sensors are being installed in schools in Dickson County. The school board’s unanimous vote approved using federal ESSER money to purchase Halo vape detectors.

They were approved for all four middle schools and both high schools. The devices will go in the bathrooms to detect vaping, including THC. District leaders said the devices were requested by all middle school principals.

According to our media partners at WDKN, Dickson County High School principal Dr. Corey Duke sent out a notification to families introducing the installation of new vaping sensors across the school’s facilities. The message also outlined the disciplinary measures if a student tampers with the devices. It’ll be viewed as felony vandalism and a level four threat of property.

 

School districts in other parts of Middle Tennessee have approved vape sensors as well, including Sumner County Schools.

It’s a problem the Drug Free Dickson Coalition has been trying to address through the non-profit’s mission to reduce and prevent alcohol, tobacco and drug misuse in Dickson County, particularly among youth. One concern is the nicotine levels in these vapes being used by young people.

“When adolescents use these high level nicotine products, it does affect the brain, because what we noticed is the human brain is still growing and developing until age 25, it does put them at higher risk for addiction of harder substances,” said Assistant Director Karrie Thompson. “If we could cut it off right here and keep them from using these products, then hopefully, it will help them not to try anything stronger.”

The coalition partners with the school system every two years to survey 8th, 10th, and 12th grade students. During the last survey in 2022, 24% of Dickson County students admitted they used a vape within the last 30 days. The average age of being introduced to vaping is 13.

“With this coming out in the schools and you know, it’s sort of it’s the talk of the town right now that they’ve detectors are going in schools, it’s a great time to start those conversations, to talk to your kids about what they’re seeing in school, and have they tried to vape,” advised Thompson. “Maybe while they’re curious about it, let them know that you don’t approve of it, and you know, that it’s dangerous for young people to use these devices.”

The district will pay $13,530 per year for a licensing fee for the 110 devices. They have a five year warranty on them, and if a student tries to tamper with them, it sends out an alarm as well.

The devices can also detect a rise in noise — without video or audio recording, which can indicate a fight. The device sends a message to an app that administrators or school resource officers have on their phones.

The Drug Free Dickson Coalition will host an event with Laura Stack, founder and CEO of Johnny’s Ambassadors, to address the dangers of high-potency marijuana products for youth.
The free event will take place May 10th at 7:30 a.m. at the county government building in Dickson.

“It’s really educating. It’s very important that people understand that the THC that we’re seeing right now is not the THC of our grandparents,” explained Thompson. “It’s chemical, it’s manmade, it’s much higher potency than anything that has been tested and researched. And it is making an impact on our young people’s mental health.”