Trendy or not, vaping should not occur on school grounds, whether it be during school or outside of regular school hours.
It is known that members of the SPA community partake in vaping. While it is not the duty nor is it in the realm of The Rubicon to regulate what students do in their spare time off of campus, recently, there has been an uptick in the amount of kids vaping during both regular and outside of school hours on campus. This is just simply unacceptable. School is a very public place. All students have access to all places on campus with only a few exceptions.
A student in the ninth grade is entitled to utilize all the same spaces that a junior, for example, uses. If an upperclassman vapes in, say, a bathroom, hallway, or locker immediately prior to another student walking in, what example does that set for the student that smells the vape afterwards? That perhaps drug use has become normalized, even during school hours? On another note, what if an individual is allergic to a certain vape ingredient and they’re exposed to that ingredient in a space where they don’t expect it?
In the SPA community, there are simply two groups of people: those who vape and those who do not. To try and counteract this growing issue, here is advice to members of each of those two groups.
To those who vape: Please stop doing it at school and consider both the effect vaping has on you and those around you. This is especially true if you are an athlete. Vaping falls under MSHSL drug prohibition rules, so partaking in vaping is a serious violation of those rules and is subject to sport suspension at the least. Even if vape is somehow harmless, countless others around you don’t in any way care for the smell that vaping leaves behind. If you really must vape, please do it on your own time and not at school. Other individuals who do not vape and do not enjoy the smell should not have to worry about smelling it at their school during school hours. Although it may seem harmless, vaping is still a drug (the student handbook prohibits the use of any drug on campus) and contains many harmful chemicals. Additionally, because vaping is drug use, it can come with serious disciplinary actions. At school, if caught vaping, students are entitled to an immediate suspension. Additionally outside of school, it is illegal for minors to both vape and buy vaping products.
To those that don’t vape: While it might seem uncomfortable to stop someone from vaping at school, it would be the best approach to simply ask them to stop. If they refuse to listen, remind them that vaping is a suspendible offense. In order to effectively stop vaping at school in the long run, we must initiate more conversation about how disgusting vaping is for those around students that vape. We need to have more conversations about how unpleasant it is to be around in order to demonstrate that those who do not vape really do not care for events like walking into an area around the school and smelling the cloying smell of vape.
In order to create a school environment that is comfortable and safe for all students, vaping during school hours needs to stop. The large majority of students that do not vape do not care for and find the smell it leaves behind sickening. Unless the student body starts to discuss how unappreciated vaping at school is, those who do vape will feel no pressure to change their current habits.