Due to concerns related to vaping at secondary campuses, the Judson ISD board of trustees Nov. 16 unanimously approved measures that serve as vaping deterrents.

These measures included the purchase of vape sensors that are to be installed at the three comprehensive high schools within the district, which includes Judson High School, Veterans High School and Wagner High School.

The details

With the approval of the sensors, 50 will be purchased, with 16 placed at each school, leaving two extra sensors should they be needed.

The total cost of the 50 sensors is $144,260 that includes the installation of the devices, which will be paid through the general fund. The total cost also includes the installation of cages around the sensor to help deter tampering from students.

Assistant Superintendent of Technology Lacey Gosch said the sensors will work in tandem with the security cameras on campus, meaning that if a sensor in a restroom detects vape, the hallway cameras outside of that restroom will capture the footage of students entering and exiting the restroom during the detection period.

“[The sensors] are also adjustable within each bathroom to detect things from sound all the way to the amount of vape or nonvape that it would detect,” Gosch said.

Also on the agenda

Alongside the approval of the installation of vape sensors, trustees also approved an amendment to the District of Innovation Plan that outlines the possible consequences of students caught vaping or possessing vape devices.

According to Superintendent Milton Fields, the consequences outlined in the plan allow for campus administration to give punishments ranging from three days of in-school suspension to placement in the disciplinary alternative education program, or DAEP. Punishments could also include counseling and education regarding the usage of vape products.

Consequences range based on the severity of the offense, which will be determined by campus administration. Students caught with vaping devices that contain THC will be sent to DAEP regardless of it being a first offense.

Moving forward

The decision to purchase vape sensors was discussed in October, where the trustees were presented with an agenda item that would see the purchase of 480 devices to be installed in schools across the district.

Trustees made the decision to narrow the scope of the project, and to test the effectiveness of the sensors prior to purchasing all 480 devices.

The 50 devices approved Nov. 16 will help serve as a test before the district makes the decision to purchase additional devices for other campuses.

“This is a nice big test run to see how it works and to see if we can curb at least some of these problems, and if it is working great in the high schools, then maybe we move it to some middle schools and see how it goes,” trustee Monica Ryan said.