Olathe School Board votes to add vape detectors in middle school restrooms

Cost comes in at just over $82,000
Published: Dec. 1, 2022 at 6:55 AM CST
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OLATHE, Kan. (KCTV) - UPDATE: The motion regarding vaping passed 4-0.

Previous coverage is below.

The Olathe School Board is set to discuss whether to install vape detectors in middle school restrooms Thursday night at its regular meeting.

The school district already has the vape sensors in its high schools. Now staffers say they are seeing an increased prevalence of vape usage at the district’s middle schools.

Installing the new vape sensors would cost over $8,000 per school, bringing the total to just over $82,000, according to financial documents contained within the Board proposal. They would be placed in the school’s restrooms over winter break.

Parents in Olathe expressed concern about the prevalence of vaping at schools.

Sarah Duran, whose child goes to a high school within the district, said she often hears about kids sneaking off to use e-cigarettes and other vaping products.

“It’s becoming easier to get and easier to do,” she said.

The American Lung Association recently launched a campaign called “The Vape Talk,” which encourages parents to talk to their kids about the products, focusing on their feelings and experiences, rather than punishment.

Sara Prem an advocacy director for ALA in the KC Area, said parents should consider that vaping is an addiction issue, not just a behavioral problem.

“Parents, especially that middle school to early high school age, have an opportunity to engage with their students and prevent a lifetime addiction to nicotene,” Prem said.

The company creating the vape detectors---American Digital Security---says the sensors work by detecting substances from vape and smoke to even chemical spills and gunshots. Any of those trigger an alarm and send an alert to administrators or staff members.

The Olathe School District Board of Education’s regular meeting is set for 5:45 p.m. Thursday at the Education Center at 14160 Black Bob Road, Olathe, KS.