LaGRANGE, Ga. (WRBL) – The Troup County School System will be starting the upcoming school year with new devices to help detect vaping and bullying. The devices are meant to improve air quality in the restrooms in the schools especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. However, they will detect vaping and noise variances and alert school administration of fights or bullying.
The indoor air quality devices were discovered by the principal at Callaway Middle School, Amy Thornton. Thornton was frustrated with the amount of students vaping on campus when she found the indoor air quality devices.
“It seemed like we were just having more and more incidents of vaping, in the restrooms. Some kids having vapes, passing vapes, actually vaping. So I was kind of in a fit of rage. I went to my A.P.’s and said ‘there has got to be something out there, we cannot be the only school dealing with this’,” said Thornton.
Thornton wants to provide a safe and conducive environment for learning at Callaway Middle School. She wants students and parents to know that they are taking proactive measures to ensure that. She also wants her students to make informed decisions about things like vaping.
“All I want is to just give them a little buffer, a chance to let that mind mature and then make a truly informed decision about whatever it is in their life,” said Thornton.
The devices will first be installed in only two school, Callaway Middle School and Troup High School. They have a radius of 10-12 feet so there will be multiple devices in all restrooms. They also have a siren built in to alert administration if the device is tampered with.
The devices are set up with five words to recognize and alert administration if they are said in any of the restrooms to alert about bullying or fighting. They are also synced with the cameras on campus so the administration can watch who is going in or out of the restroom when the alert goes off.
Chip Medders, the Assistant Superintendent of Maintenance and Operations, hopes to inform kids of the ramifications involved if they choose to participate in behaviors like vaping or bullying.
“Bathrooms are typically places that you see situations of whether it is bullying or vaping, in this particular instance. Those are the common places. We really hope that this is going to be a deterrent, we don’t think this is going to fix the problem by any means but at the same time we’re going to do our best to deter kids of making poor choices with vapes and other things of that matter,” said Medders.
Medders hopes with the installation of these devices teachers will be able to focus on teaching again instead of disciplining students.
The first few devices at Callaway Middle School and Troup High School are being paid out of TCSS’ budget however, they hope to receive funding from the CARES 3 Act for the remaining facilities. The act is meant provide economic aid for people negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.