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Ridgefield Battles Vaping At High School, State Legislature

Ridgefield Battles Vaping At High School, State Legislature

CT Post, September 23, 2019

By Macklin Reid

Like catching clouds with a net...

As vaping has gone from a health concern to a nationwide danger that has cost lives, educators at Ridgefield High School battle on in their multi-front war to limit the use of “electronic cigarettes” among students.

The high school’s efforts range from offering a vaping cessation program, to health class lessons, to guest speakers, to the deployment of electronic vaping sensors, according to Principal Stacey Gross.

And, Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi said, vaping is now an issue that should be addressed by the state legislature.

“Just get rid of it,” Marconi said. “It’s a health concern — it was in the beginning, now confirmed reports are coming in. I don’t think we should wait.” 

Five approaches back to top

There are five approaches being taken at Ridgefield High School, according to Principal Gross.

Dangers of vaping are taught in all mandated ninth grade health and twelfth grade wellness courses,” she told The Press.

“Ninth grade anti-drug and eleventh grade anti-drug guest speakers include vaping in their presentations.

Students produce PSAs (public service announcements) that are put on the schoolwide TVs and are Tweeted,” she said.

The school is also “offering a vaping cessation program” to habitual users.

“Informational updates/articles [are] shared with staff for professional development,” she said, and “articles shared on Twitter.”

 There is also some old-fashioned — and some new-fangled — enforcement.

Disciplinary efforts are built around “consistent well-defined consequences and follow-up counseling for students caught vaping,” Gross said.

She added that “Numerous vaping sensors were purchased and placed in a variety of areas throughout the building.”

Marconi said the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities is asking the state legislature to address vaping in its upcoming legislative session expected to begin in February.

“It’s a short session this year, so there’s not going to be a whole lot debated and discussed,” Marconi said.

“Hopefully, this can be quick, to the point, with people in general agreement.”