Wayne High School receives national award for reducing vaping within schools

Published: Apr. 18, 2023 at 6:59 PM EDT
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WAYNE COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - E-cigarettes can be easily hidden and hard for school administrators to detect.

Most companies market them for teens with appealing flavors of cotton candy, mango, and blueberry.

Wayne High School Principal Sara Stapleton said e-cigarettes and vapes were a big problem for the districts when students came back to in-person learning.

Stapleton recalled the time the district had to call an ambulance for two students after an e-cigarette had been laced.

“We had two students overdose and required Narcan [to be administered]. I had never witnessed that medication tape part ad. That child becomes agitated and angry and to know someone or a device was behind it. It was too much,” Stapleton said. “I was furious that somebody laced that vape.”

Wayne High School installed vape detectors shortly after the incident.

The devices detect THC, nicotine, and vape chemicals, and have an anti-bullying feature that detects high-pitched noises.

If the device detects something in say, restroom A, administrators look on your hallway camera to see who is exiting the bathroom at that time.

Derek Peterson helped develop the technology to combat the public health crisis in schools.

“When I look at the pile, it breaks my heart that we even had to do something to create technology to prevent it,” Peterson said. “... I wish that pile never existed.”

The Wayne County (WV) Schools and Prestera Center, a West Virginia-based behavioral health provider, received the Soteria National Leadership Award in recognition of their collective efforts and national leadership in the effective combination of technology and intervention strategies to reduce instances of vaping and disruptive behavior among K-12 students.