School administration cracking down on vaping

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Published: Oct. 9, 2023 at 1:55 PM EDT
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HARLAN COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - Harlan County Schools administrators are working to stop folks from using e-cigarettes on school property.

Matt Cope, who serves as the police chief for the school system, said they are consistently finding students with a vape.

”We are seeing a dangerous steady increase in the amount of vaping in our students, throughout our county and across the country that are engaging in vaping. We see it on a daily basis in our schools. It continues to rise,” said Cope.

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In response, the school system has installed vape detection devices in bathrooms and staff are trained to look out for e-cigarettes, but Cope said students are becoming more creative in hiding them.

“Now we’re seeing vapes in many every day items. Whether it be the strings in a child’s hoodie or a vape that looked like a highlighter, or makeup or a watch, or an ink pen. I mean, they’re disguising them so many different ways,” he said.

Cope explained that any Harlan County Schools student can be subject to disciplinary action if they are found with a vape.

Administrators are trying to also educate students about the dangers of nicotine and other substances.

“All of our students have had vaping discussions in their classes,” said Cope. “We’ve had a big assembly for all of our high school students. All of our middle school students to talk about the dangers of vaping.”

Cope said he feels like businesses are marketing towards students, making it even harder to keep them from vaping.