Oxford School District discusses vaping issue following incidents

Published 8:49 am Thursday, January 30, 2020

The Oxford School District is calling for the help of parents on the heels of two vaping-related incidents last week.

During their monthly meeting on Monday, OSD superintendent Brian Harvey mentioned two Oxford High School students had “serious” reactions to substances after using a vape pen. The two students have since recovered and are doing “well,” according to Harvey, but he said the district decided to use the incident as an opportunity to bring awareness to a national issue that quickly became a local one.

“We really need parents’ help,” Harvey said. “It’s not that we want to shirk our responsibility, but substances that go into bodies, we just can’t do it alone and parents we need your help. … Thankfully, the two young men are well and recovering. It could have been something different, and in other places in the nation, it has.”

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Harvey told the Board he spoke with Lafayette County school superintendent Dr. Adam Pugh and said a similar incident occurred with a student at Lafayette High School a couple weeks ago.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration raised the legal limit to buy tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes and vaping devices, from 18 to 21 last year.

“We’re also ramping up the efforts for punishment,” Harvey said. “Not to mean we are expelling kids for vapes, but at the same time it’s serious. It shuts down the day. That’s a day of instruction lost and of course we want the young men to recover. It’s not just a male, female thing. It’s not just a white, black or brown thing. All races, all genders are participating and we just have to have a coordinated approach, but we need parents’ help.”

The school district is looking at the possibility of installing vape and smoke detectors in school restrooms to help identify who is using the vaping devices and where they are located. Harvey said he hopes if they go the direction of installing detectors it would deter incidents that occurred last Friday to happen again.

Board member Betsy Smith brought up the idea of working with the William Magee Wellness Center located in the new South Campus Recreation Center in the future to educate students.

On Tuesday, the Oxford Police Department released a video by School Resource Officer Zach Anderson discussing the dangers of vaping and using substances. You can watch the video below.