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The student news website of Omaha Central High School

The Register

The student news website of Omaha Central High School

The Register

Central Administration cracks down on vape usage in school

New+addition+bathrooms+have+been+closed+frequently+since+it+opened+as+a+result+of+vaping.
Cris Bataillon
New addition bathrooms have been closed frequently since it opened as a result of vaping.

Central administrators have made cracking down on vaping a high priority for the 2023-2024 school year. For the first time, students were directly informed of the consequences of vaping at the beginning of the school year expectations assemblies in mid-August. Eagle Time teachers also gave a presentation on vaping in August.  

Vapes, electronic devices used to inhale and exhale nicotine, have risen in popularity over the past few years. The National Institute of Health reports that more than one in four high school students used vaping devices daily in 2022, a rise from 2020 and 2021, which saw a sharp dip in vape usage as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The rise in popularity of vapes also includes THC vapes, devices that are used to inhale and exhale tetrahydrocannabinol, the main psychoactive substance found in the drug marijuana. 

The increase in vape usage has made Central’s administration focus more on students caught in possession of the devices. “Over the last couple of years, vaping and THC vapes have become more common at Central High School, unfortunately, like the rest of the metro and country,” Dean of Students Sara Evans said.  

Administrators are increasing awareness of vaping this year to improve the health of students and to address community concerns about vaping in schools, Evans said. They came up with the strategy of “bathroom camping” to help stop vaping in school. Students may see more administrators outside the bathrooms or in them at passing periods and periodically throughout the day. 

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Administrators started giving detentions to students caught vaping and calling their parents. The consequences have been met with positive reactions from parents, according to Evans. Building trust between the school and students’ families is important to curbing vaping at Central, Evans said. “Parents should feel like they are sending their kids into a safe, healthy environment,” she said. 

Evans added that students being more aware of consequences is helpful to curb vaping in schools. The Omaha Public Schools Student Code of Conduct classifies possession of a vape containing tobacco as a Level 2 violation, while possessing a vape containing THC or other illegal substances is a Level 3 violation. Level 2 and 3 violations, specifically when related to vaping devices, carry penalties of a phone call home, community counseling to deal with substance abuse, and the potential for exclusion from school and events. Multiple offenses could potentially result in suspension and expulsion.   

In addition to the school consequences, students will have their vapes turned over to the police. Central School Resource Officer David Preston said that all vapes confiscated by administrators are given to the Omaha Police Department for narcotics testing. If a vape is confiscated and found to have THC, the county attorney could bring charges against that student for being in the possession of an illegal substance.  

 Evans and Preston stressed that vapes of any variation are dangerous, illegal and should not be in school. “Any vape is illegal for students to possess and, therefore, they should have none,” Evans said.  

“Unfortunately, this is a hard lesson students must learn,” Evans said. “Every person must take accountability for their actions and reactions to situations.” She reminds students that they need to make decisions that are the best for them now and in the future.     

Evans and the other administrators at Central believe they are making progress in combating vaping. “We are saving kids one puff at a time… but there is more work to be done for sure,” Evans said. As the school year continues, students can expect administrators to continue enacting policies and strategies like “bathroom camping” to curb vape usage.   

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Steven Dickerson, Staff Writer
Hi, my name is Steven Dickerson (he/him). I am a sophomore and this is my first year on The Register. I was voted most likely to go blonde. A fun fact about me is that I am a big pasta salad fan.
Cris Bataillon, Staff Photographer
Hi, my name is Cris Bataillon (he/him). I'm a senior, and this is my first year on The Register. I was selected for most likely to spontaneously buy a pet fish. My favorite restaurant is the Taste of India on Leavenworth.
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