WAUKEE, Iowa — The Waukee Community School District plans to add vape detectors to some of the bathrooms in its high schools sometime this school year.
That makes them the second school district in the metro to add vape detectors, the first is Valley High School in West Des Moines.
David Maxwell, Valley’s principal, said that the detectors have made a big difference in the four years since they were first installed.
“We knew that vaping was starting to become a prevalent problem in our community so we decided to pilot just having four in four of our bathrooms and that was super successful,” Maxwell said, “and so we decided to increase the number and so now we have vape detectors in pretty much all of our bathrooms.”
But Valley High School isn’t just focused on catching kids vaping. It also has programs that students have to complete after they are caught to deal with addiction.
Josh Griffith, an Associate Principal at Valley High School said the school partners with Four Oaks Children and Family Services’ Healthy Lifestyles Program. Griffith said that when students are caught vaping they meet with a healthy lifestyle coordinator to work on addiction treatment.
Griffith also said the school partners with the West Des Moines Police Department when they catch students vaping illegal substances. If it is a student’s first offense they can participate in the Police Department’s Youth Justice Initiative Program which can help them get back on the right track.
Griffith said both programs have been successful.
“When students have gone through that program in conjunction with the healthy lifestyles program it’s been unbelievable. We have very very few repeat offenders,” Griffith said. “There’s a lot of restorative circle conversations students get to learn the impact that it has not just on themselves but anyone and everyone that cares for and works with that student.”