Official says vape sensor project was a success

Nov. 19 — CLOVIS — Vape sensors installed in high and middle schools are doing their job, Clovis Municipal Schools board members were told at Tuesday’s November meeting.

CMS Operations Director Loran Hill addressed the board of directors on the success of installing the vape detectors, a $300,000 project according to Hill.

The sensor devices are similar to a household smoke detector and are wired to send information to the school’s office.

“There were 643 [vape detection] Incidents in the first 10 days between Clovis High School and Yucca [Middle School]’ said Hill.

Hill said 24 of those incidents involved THC vaping, which is the active ingredient in cannabis. The Clovis Police Department was called into these incidents.

Hill and CHS Instructional Coach Kori Strickland spoke with the board about how installing the vape sensors has changed the behavior of some students.

Both spoke of incidents where when a student who was not vaping encountered a student who was vaping, or smelled vaping, some students would immediately turn and exit the toilet.

Hill said the sensors can also detect “masking,” a term for spraying scents in bathrooms to try to mask steam smells.

After the meeting, Hill said there had been a total of 1,302 vape incidents since the sensors were installed on Oct. 24, 643 in the first 10 days and 659 since then, from Nov. 7 to Tuesday.

Regarding comments on social media that the restrooms at CHS had been closed due to vaping incidents, Strickland said, “Kids at Clovis High School weren’t without bathrooms.”

The toilets in some of the smaller buildings were locked during the so-called “transit time” during class changes.

“We’re hoping to open the restrooms in the smaller buildings as cases of vaping go down,” Strickland said. “Kids always have access to bathrooms.”

In another store, Debbie Westbrook, CMS Senior Director of Student Nutrition and Well-being, delivered her 40th Day Attendance Report.

Westbrook said 32% of the student body was absent up to four days in the first 40 days of the school year.

Board member Sharon Epps asked Westbrook if there were one or two things that stood out as to why the students were absent.

Westbrook said part of the problem is the society that has emerged from the pandemic and “negative habits that have been developed by society in general.”

Westbrook said staff are “working hard” to reduce students’ chronic absenteeism on a daily basis.

Corey Pickett, Director of Fine Arts at CMS, and Bill Allred, Director of Wildcat Band, appeared before the board and recognized the band’s many top honors this season.

“You can’t have this kind of success without support,” Allred said.

CHS Student Body President Janee Royal appeared before the board and spoke of a survey in which 87% of the female students surveyed at the high school said they would like to have menstrual hygiene products in the high school girls’ restroom.

Christian Villegas, also from CHS, thanked the school board for installing the school’s vape sensors.

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