Has this high-school gone too far?
Anti-vaping activists routinely perpetuate the myth of the so-called teen vaping “epidemic,” despite constantly emerging evidence directly contradicting this narrative. In response to this non-issue, one high school principal has decided to take things to the furthest extreme possible.
An Alabama high school recently, without any input from or warning to parents, removed several stall doors from boys rooms throughout the building. The move came after school administrators had found a student passed out in one of the bathrooms as a result of excessive vaping.
Administrators have defended the move as a stopgap measure as they figure out a more permanent solution to combat teen vaping. Parents have criticized the move as nothing more than a flagrant invasion of their children’s privacy.
While anti-vaping activists are often in favor of preventing teen vaping use by any means necessary, there has been little support behind this ill-advised move. Several parents note that while they are concerned about their teens vaping, this is nothing but a poorly thought out invasion of privacy that should have never been enacted in the first place.
No More Doors
A Florence, Alabama high school is making headlines for their unconventional approach to combat teenage vaping. Wilson High School Principal Gary Horton unilaterally decided to have stall doors removed from the boys’ bathroom after an incident in which a student was found passed out in a stall from excessive vaping.
Horton has stated that students are sneaking off to the bathroom daily in order to vape. He says in order to prevent students from vaping, the best solution was to remove some of the stall doors in the boys bathrooms.
Wilson High School is far from alone in this unusual but not uncommon move. According to data from the National Youth Tobacco Survey, 9% of schools reported removing some restroom doors in an effort to prevent e-cigarette use.
While parents stated they were concerned and did not want their teens vaping, removing the bathroom stall doors is a clear invasion of their children’s privacy. Parents have indicated they would like to see the doors back in place, which Horton assures will be once a solution is found. Parents have already suggested alternative measures such as hall-monitors making occasional bathroom “sweeps” as being a more effective solution.
Facts About Vaping
Wilson High Schools dramatic action was conducted in the name of preventing youth vaping citing a teen vaping crisis, yet evidence continues to emerge, showing teen vaping rates are at their lowest levels ever. In a survey conducted by Action on Smoking and Health, researchers discovered that as little as 0.1% and 0.5% of non-smoking teens who try vaping take it up habitually.
Other reports have highlighted the safety of vaping compared to smoking. A study published in the Journal of Aerosol Sciences found vapers have a 57,000 times lower risk of developing cancer when compared to smokers.
Separate studies from Public Health England and the Roswell Park Cancer Center found vaping to be 95% and 93% safer than smoking, respectively. Despite such profound evidence, vaping continues to be demonized and legislated the same as smoking.
By legislating vapor products the same as tobacco, in some instances worse, lawmakers are creating a negative stigma against a potential public health tool. A survey by Action on Smoking and Health found only 13% of adults believe vaping is safer than smoking, with 26% saying it’s just as bad or worse.
There is a staggering amount of research highlighting the efficacy of vaping as a smoking cessation aid and reduced harm alternative to tobacco. A study conducted by the University of Louisville found vaping to be the single most effective smoking cessation tool available on the market today, beating even prescription options such as Chantix.
While hardly the first and probably not the last to remove stall doors in their bathrooms, Wilson High School administrator’s strange move to combat teen vaping raises important questions about the privacy rights of students. It also highlights the very basic discussions school administrators should be having with parents before taking such drastic action.
These dramatic gestures are often made without any input from parents or discussions with parent-teacher organizations. Parent’s have already suggested common-sense alternatives such as newer “vapor” detectors that work much like smoke detectors, and having truancy officers and hall monitors occasionally check the restrooms to ensure vaping isn’t taking place.
Parents need to hold school officials and administrators accountable when taking such dramatic action that directly impacts their children with zero input from parents. These overzealous bureaucrats will continue to encroach on their basic rights and freedoms if left with little resistance or outcry.
Do you feel school administrators went too far? Do you believe there are far simpler and common-sense alternatives to their dramatic actions? Do you think it was potentially illegal? Let us know what you think in the comments below. Don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to receive all the latest vaping news!
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