The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

MCPS implements vape detectors in select schools

WJ has been closing bathrooms as part of the “Student Restroom Monitoring Plan.”
Photo by Abby Kee
WJ has been closing bathrooms as part of the “Student Restroom Monitoring Plan.”

As part of a new county initiative, vape detectors have been installed across six MCPS high schools (Richard Montgomery, John F. Kennedy, Northwood, Paint Branch, Quince Orchard and Walt Whitman). The measure is part of a larger effort in dealing with the rise of overdoses and usage of drugs, such as fentanyl. If the pilot program proves effective, additional detectors could be installed across the county for the 2023-2024 school year.

Earlier this year in late February, MCPS introduced the new “Student Restroom Monitoring Plan.” Schools like WJ have been implementing the plan by closing certain bathrooms throughout the day.

Part of the new program has been the implementation and installation of Vape Detection Devices. The device is programmed to measure the content of air for specific harmful chemicals that will then alert faculty on where students have participated in vaping on school property. However, some students have doubts.

“I think the detectors will be somewhat effective in decreasing usage because while they can alert security about people smoking, it may lead to more people vaping/smoking in the hallways, outside, and other places in the building,” Richard Montgomery sophomore Ari Fine said.

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County student leaders also share concerns about the vape detectors.

“I’m not necessarily against it but this is sending the wrong message to students and we continue to keep doing this, which is if we’re taking the approach of we’re gonna put a detector that’s gonna show if you’re doing this, which is probably gonna imply a security guard or an administrator’s gonna come in and like punish you … You’re sending the message to students not that hey, we want to actually help you try and reduce drudge use, it’s we want to punish you and that is not helping whatsoever,” SMOB elect Richard Montgomery junior Sami Saeed said.

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Abby Kee
Abby Kee, Senior News Editor
Junior Abby Kee is thrilled to be on the Pitch for her third year as a Senior News Editor. Outside of school, she loves hanging out with her friends and family and playing tennis.
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