Vaping detectors installed at three South Carolina high schools

South Carolina News

FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – Florence One Schools recently added vaping detectors in each of their three high school campuses.

West Florence High School Principal Matt Dowdell says the Halo Smart Sensor was brought to his attention in an e-mail.

“We really ran into an issue where every time we would go into a bathroom we would notice there would be a little cloud of smoke or there would be something going on,” said Dowdell.

Dowdell says he brought the suggestion of vape detectors to the district’s superintendent and the devices were piloted at West Florence in December.

District security says the devices were tested at West Florence for one week and the school saw a huge success.

Halos were added to the other two high schools and were installed by the time students came back from winter break.

12 detectors are strategically placed in each high school and are multi-functioning sensors.

Doug Nunnally, director of security and school safety, says the sensors can detect all kinds of chemicals like tobacco from cigarettes and vape pens, THC, ammonia, and chlorine.

Halos also have audio sensors that detect loud noises such as a fight, or a person yelling for help.

Nunnally says the sensors’ main purpose in schools is to curb vaping.

He says when a student vapes near a detector a silent alarm is sent to the school resource officer, providing the location and substance of the chemical.

Halos paired with security cameras make it easy to track a person down.

“It’s very easy to narrow it down from that point,” said Nunnally.

The FDA recently raised the age to buy tobacco and vaping products from 18 to 21.

Dowdell says they are disciplining internally when students are caught with nicotine vaping products. He says when students are caught with THC products the police are involved.

“These do have the capability of testing THC at this time, which is excellent for us. And any time those go off, we do work with our local law enforcement,” said Dowdell.

The district says they are working to stop vaping at school, but the conversation needs to start at home.

“To the parents, pay attention. Just stay vigilant with your kids and have that conversation with them about what it’s doing to their bodies, what it’s doing to their mind at this time,” said Dowdell.

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