While vaping in schools is no new threat to students, the use of marijuana oils may be a growing trend. School Resource Officer Chris Williams says that last school year, the three full time resource officers at Camdenton High School came into their first instances of marijuana oil being used in vaping devices. This year, he expects that use will continue, if not rise.

While vaping in schools is no new threat to students, the use of marijuana oils may be a growing trend. School Resource Officer Chris Williams says that last school year, the three full time resource officers at Camdenton High School came into their first instances of marijuana oil being used in vaping devices. This year, he expects that use will continue, if not rise.

Currently, the rules for vaping in schools are straight forward. If a student is caught with a vaping device using nicotine fluid, the device is confiscated and the student is punished. If a vaping device is taken with CBD oil or Marijuana oil, it is handed over to the police and the student will gave the law depending on what age they are. With medical marijuana now coming into Missouri, this becomes a more difficult subject. For now, Williams says they have to be more careful on an individual level for what students have needs within the legal limits. Even with certain cases falling under new legal standards, Williams says that vaping as a whole is a steadily growing issue. He says teachers and administration have been thoroughly trained to detect usage and sweep bathrooms between class periods to check. He says an obvious indicator is when 5-6 students are seen going into a bathroom at once. Alongside keeping a watchful eye, SROs are doing daily parking lot sweeps to detect devices in student vehicles.

Last year, the use of marijuana oil in a vape device was discovered for the first time. Williams says the student was caught because of the adverse reaction they had to the product, which needed assistance for school officials. He says many students are switching from plant-based marijuana smoking and usage to the oils because of the ease of use and secrecy of the devices. This is a difficult thing for staff to be alerted to, as the vaping pens and pods are nearly untrackable.

Williams says the school is doing their best to conduct SRO searches in lesser camera visibility points throughout the campus. This, alongside vaping test kits to test for CBD and marijuana oils, is the strongest method of detection the school currently has.

Williams brought forward a plan to the R-III school board to devise a meeting and forum with parents in order to bring more information about these issues to parents. The idea is to gather parents interested and talk about what to look for if they are concerned about their child vaping.

“Some of these vaping devices look like a USB stick,” Williams said. “they may not know what’s plugged into their kid’s Chromebook.”

Though no official plans have been adopted by the school board yet, Williams is confident Superintendent Tim Hadfield and the other board members will allow for them to set it up. For now, Williams suggests that any parents with ongoing concerns reach out to local health department officials and ask for information. He says that, with so much false information being found all over the internet, it’s best to talk to someone trusted and local to get a realistic idea of what can be done.