Vaping detector installed in bathrooms at high school in mid-Michigan

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MIDLAND, MI — A high school in mid-Michigan is aiming to prevent students from vaping in school bathrooms with a device that detects the activity like a smoke detector.

At the beginning of the school year, Midland High School installed the HALO inside its bathrooms. The device can detect a vapor, loud noise, THC and gunpowder, according to school officials.

“We started with a pilot program at the start of the year at Midland High bathrooms,” said Superintendent Michael Sharrow. “In the next few weeks, all of our secondary buildings bathrooms will have them.”

The device looks similar to a smoke detector. Sharrow said when it was first installed, the school would receive six or eight detections a week. Recently, it only reports one or two per week.

Sharrow said when the device gets a detection the assistant principal gets an email as a notification.

“We hope these devices are a deterrent and we believe the key to prevention is education,” he said.

The school has an anti-vaping campaign with educational material. Once a student has been caught, school officials reduce the infraction if the student agrees to an educational course, Sharrow said.

So far, the school has paid about $1,000 for the devices and installation through an endowment fund. In the next few weeks all Midland Public Schools’ secondary buildings bathrooms will have a HALO, Sharrow said.

HALO is a security device and an environmental monitoring tool. Its vaping and THC detection capabilities are being used by school districts across the country to combat the youth vaping epidemic, according to the company’s website.