Herald Staff Writer
As the popularity of vaping grows, the use of it in schools is a concern. Barberton and Norton’s superintendents weighed in on the subject. According to Norton Superintendent Dana Addis, educators see vaping as a widespread problem. He said Norton schools conduct many in-school programs that promote a drug-free, smoke-free and alcohol-free lifestyle. “Nearly every district with whom we collaborate with discusses the amount of vaping that their students are battling and we all discuss ways to work through this issue,” said Addis. Barberton Superintendent Jeffrey Ramnytz said the students are educated in health class, meetings and morning announcements about the harmful effects caused by vaping and smoking. He also said when a student is caught, they receive more education because they have to write a paper on the dangers of nicotine. When asked if vaping was an issue in the district, Ramnytz said it’s no more than in years past or than tobacco.“Vaping has been sold to the public and our youth as being a safer alternative to cigarettes. There is nothing further from the truth. Right now, it is in the fad stage but with new studies coming about the danger and education we will continue to combat this dangerous habit,” said Ramnytz.Ramntyz said next year the consequences for students who are caught vaping or using any tobacco-related products on school property will lead to three days of out-of-school suspension with one day removed if they write a paper for the first offense. The second offense will result in three days of out-of- school suspension and the third offense will lead to five days out of school.Addis said the consequences for vaping are like any disciplinary infraction, students are given due process rights and after that, they work with them and their family in order to help.“It may appear to be a punishment but our ultimate goal is to help and educate the student,” said Addis.“When a student vapes at school, everyone in that student’s life needs to contribute to helping that student. Unfortunately, our students believe the false statement about the ‘healthy alternative’ of vaping,” Addis continued. According to drugabuse.gov, teenagers are more likely to use electronic cigarettes, also known as vapes, than traditional ones. Most e-cigarettes contain the highly addictive substance nicotine, that can harm adolescent brain development. It may also increase the risk of future addiction to other drugs. The CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) states e-cigarettes produce an aerosol by heating a liquid that can contain nicotine, flavoring and other chemicals. Vaping devices range in size and some can be as small as a USB which makes them easy to conceal. Unlike cigarettes, they can smell fruity, which may attract young people to them.