School uncovers middle school students vaping, may take disciplinary action

Middle school students will likely face disciplinary measures after a number of students were found using vape devices, President Rick Commons said.

Commons said he does not have an estimated number of students involved in the incident.

“It’s not widespread, but it’s more than two or three,” Commons said.

Commons also said he could not comment on what grade or grades the students are in.

“All that I have heard has been rumor,” Parker*, a middle school student who wished to be anonymous, said. “Among these rumors, there has been one consistency: the school trainer walked into the boys locker room to find several kids juuling.”

Head of Middle School Jon Wimbish, alongside the Middle School Deans, is investigating reports of an incident involving a number of middle school students and vaping. Commons said those reports do seem credible.

The Middle School as a whole has not yet been addressed about the incident, Parker said. However, Parker said that the topic has been prevalent at school this past week.

“The Middle School is currently a frenzy of confusion and rumors,” Parker said. “Having so many kids taken under questioning in the span of one day is already shocking, and the hundreds of versions of the story circulating only add to the madness.”

Will Berlin ’19, who has a sister in eighth grade, said he thinks the school should be more transparent about the incident to clear up rumors.

“I’ve heard lots of different stories from people and have found it notable just how out of the loop teachers are about this,” Berlin said. “I’ve seen multiple upper school teachers asking kids what has happened, and my sister said some of her teachers were asking where implicated kids were. “

Parker said that they were shocked when their friends informed them about the incident.

“Overall, I feel more confused than anything, simply because I don’t know what to believe,” Parker said. “There are so many conflicting stories [that] it’s hard to narrow down the facts. What I do know is that this event has certainly changed the dynamic at the Middle School.”

In light of the incident, Commons said it is important as a school to help students to understand the health risks of illegal substances.

“We will do everything we can to provide education and guidance, both to students and to parents, about how to avoid this kind of temptation and how to deal with it if indeed students are confronted with it or are feeling peer pressure around vaping,” Commons said.

Berlin said he was initially surprised to hear that students so young were vaping at school.

“I’ve come to realize that this may be the sad new reality,” Berlin said.

As vaping has only been widespread for a few years, Commons said it is a relatively new issue for educators.

“It’s a new challenge for us, but the challenge is really the same as it’s always been: to do everything we can to make sure that students are healthy and making safe choices about their bodies and about substances put in their bodies,” Commons said.

 

*names have been changed to protect anonymity

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