Teacher E-Cigarette Knowledge: “I’m so clueless”


Sam Lavely, Sports Editor

  As the use of e-cigarettes increases among high schoolers, WHS administration recognizes the need for increased enforcement of use in school according to Dean of Students Kathryn Bennett.
“According to the FDA, vaping increased nearly 80 percent among high schoolers last year. This statistic causes concerns for all school including Wayzata,” said Bennett.
  When it comes to knowledge regarding such devices, however, WHS teacher Kelsey Blum said, “I’m so clueless.” While administration has been making obvious strides toward prevention, teachers have been given little information, according to Blum.
  “There was an after-school class that administration held, but it wasn’t required for teachers,” said Blum. “We were only told to be aware that this is happening and to be aware of students’ bathroom use.”
  WHS teacher Dawn Johnson said that while she and other teachers are aware that there are occurrences in the school, vaping is not in the forefront of their minds.
“As teachers, we are trained to assume and see the best in all of our students, so it’s something we would never assume,” said Johnson.
  According to Blum her cluelessness was evident with her discovery of a “dab pen,” a device used to consume concentrates of THC (the main active ingredient of cannabis). “I saw it on the floor in my classroom and thought it was a tube of mascara,” said Blum.
  While Blum is familiar with the older technologies of vaping, these new products are completely new to her. “I tried to give it back to the girl nearest to it, but she freaked out explaining that it wasn’t hers.”
  According to Blum, she was shocked at this vehement denial of ownership, ready to give up until a student in the class shouted out that it was a dab pen.
On the topic of searches and calling students up to the office, Bennett said that “each case is treated individually based on the information provided.”
  While teachers may at times initiate the search process due to their discovery of devices, Blum said that in most cases, teachers will simply turn in the device or the student and hear nothing in response about the situation.
  “After I turned in that dab pen, I never heard anything back from the office,” said Blum.
  Johnson said that she sees the role of teachers as one of support and that it is the administration’s role to discipline the student. “Often, I prefer to talk about my concerns with the student and contact support staff.”
  According to Johnson and Blum, they both often sit down with the alleged user to discuss their future goals and the ways this use may be affecting them. “They tell me they want to do ‘this, this, and this’ in their life and I have to explain that using these products will easily derail them from their goals,” said Johnson.