SPARTA, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — While students may be resting all summer long, faculty members across the Garden State have been preparing for the new school year and a new fight against vaping on school grounds.
As students sharpen those No. 2 pencils and get ready to head back to school, administrators are warning there’s something they should leave at home — they’re vape pens. And if they don’t, they’ll get caught, CBS2’s Reena Roy reported Monday.
Many school districts are looking to install new technology in bathrooms called “HALO.” It detects all types of smoke, including vape with THC, regular smoke, carbon dioxide, propane, and even methane.
Manufactured by a company called IPVideo Corp., the devices are being used in 46 states and 10 school districts in New Jersey already, with nearly 100 more sending in requests.
In Sussex County, Sparta High School is the latest to receive a few pilot smart detectors to try out. Roy was told, however, that the school is still deciding if the technology will be permanently installed.
“I think it’s a great idea because it’s not just vaping; there’s stuff inside the vapes,” said Leslie Smith of Hampton Township.
“I think a school has a right to monitor their own property,” Sparta resident Andre Debar added.
A survey done by the Food and Drug Administration last fall shows a 78 percent spike in vaping among high schoolers, and a 48 percent increase among middle school students.
“It’s awful what these kids are doing. They’re vaping and you need to catch them doing it,” Sparta resident Jennifer Alonzo said.
Some teens said they are not necessarily convinced the technology will work.
“I think they might find a different place in the school to vape,” recent high school graduate Erin Mulligan said.
Andrew Taveras graduated from Sparta in 2016.
“Even back then, it was a problem,” Taveras said.
He added students still use the bathroom as a place to vape, but he’s hopeful HALO will at least scare some off.
“It’s not going to be a full deterrent, but it’s definitely going to help because they’ll feel nervous about going into the bathroom and vaping,” Taveras said.
David Antar, the president of IPVideo, said the HALO technology is perfect for areas of privacy, where cameras can’t go, such as bathrooms.
“Parents are excited to see this technology,” Antar said. “No parent wants to see their children vaping or starting any addictive behavior. So we are getting an incredible response from parents to the point that we have parents calling us desperately wanting to purchase these for their homes.”
This new type of tech doesn’t record to the device because of privacy issues, but it can also detect gunshots, glass breaking and key words such as “fire.”