Vaping devices on campus interrupts the learning environment

Audrey Strickhouser, Features Editor

“How can I get out of class?” “Will the teacher notice me vaping if I blow the smoke into my hoodie?” “Where will I get my vape juice?” These are questions that might run through the minds of teens who use their vaping devices during the school day. Assistant Principal Laura Lemke has taken notice of this distraction.

“The time that students are directing their attention toward vaping is taking away from their education,” Lemke said. “Time that could be spent focusing on learning and doing homework is compromised because some students are distracted by their vaping device. Students have also become more bold and have started to vape in the classroom. This is a distraction to the people in their classes who do not have the ability to stand up and walk out of the classroom; they have to deal with the consequences of that student.”

When faculty or administrators have to deal with the issue of vaping, the is time being taken away from learning opportunities and helping students.

“There is a distraction when it comes to e-cigarettes and vaping,” English teacher Vera Hazlett said. “The distraction created in my classroom has not been from students actually committing the act of vaping; it is because students joke and discuss the topic during class time. The joking about this subject is inappropriate behavior that disturbs the learning environment for students and takes away from our class time.”

Those same problems and distractions occur for math teacher and tutor Jennifer Howe.

“I have students who try to challenge me daily when it comes to the subject of vaping,” Howe said. “My students know that I am very against vaping because it is so bad for the body, but they still feel the need to bring it up in the middle of class time.The students definitely cause a distraction from what we are learning when they make jokes or continue to try to challenge me on why they should be able to vape on school grounds if they are 18 or older.”

This issue became more prominent this school year because of the advances in vaping technology.

“We started noticing the distraction at the beginning of this school year,” Lemke said. “It was not as big of an issue last year and I think the reason for that is because of the availability of smaller vaping devices. These smaller devices are more easily concealed. Also, students know that there are certain places such as bathrooms that we are not going to search because there is an expectation of privacy; those are areas they will choose to try to get away with the act.”

There are consequences when it comes to vaping for not only the student committing the act but for the administrators and other peers who have to deal with it. If faced with the distraction, students are encouraged to report the problem to a teacher or administrator.