PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Vaping is an issue across the nation and in Bay County school officials are trying to find a way to keep these devices off their campuses.
Since school started in August, there have been several incidents of students vaping drugs during the school day.
School officials said there have been at least five students rushed to the hospital after suffering from seizure-like symptoms so far this school year.
Arnold Principal Britt Smith said some students may be vaping as an escape from other issues, but the big issue is the health concerns for students who are inhaling the drugs and chemicals. Also, it is illegal.
“It’s not legal for our students to do that, it’s against the law and they need to be able to follow the law.,” Smith said. “Whenever we do have students that are vaping and we catch them doing that, we involve law enforcement and they receive citations so that they have to pay that fine.”
If the vaping device contains an illegal drug, like THC, the consequences are even more severe and may result in criminal charges.
“If we have a student that brings a dab pen that has THC in it and they are giving it to other students, we will treat that as distribution and we will recommend that they be expelled from school,” Smith said.
School leaders are asking parents to get involved.
“We hear from parents, they don’t like that students are vaping at school, we don’t like it either. We’re doing all we can but where do those vapes come from,” BDS Spokeswoman Sharon Michalik said.
While the problem is being seen at school it starts at home, they added.
“It starts with the store owner who makes certain that they only sell it to adults, and then it goes to the parents to make certain that they know who their kids are hanging around with and what they have,” Smith said.
They can make a difference, officials said.
“We have reached out to the community in the last couple of weeks with just a heartfelt plea to please search your kids,” Michalik said.
Solving this issue will be a win for everyone, officials said.
“Our students deserve to have a drug-free environment so that whenever they come to school, they can focus on learning,” Smith said.