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'We need to do more' : Port Arthur ISD votes to install vape detectors in bathrooms at all campuses

"Your health is important. We need you to grow up and be functioning adults."

PORT ARTHUR, Texas — New devices that could soon be coming to all Port Arthur Independent School District campuses will make it harder for students to vape at school.

District officials believe vaping can negatively affect students' health. Some vapes contain nicotine and a slew of other harmful chemicals.

At a Tuesday night Port Arthur ISD meeting, district officials agreed something needed to be done. They voted unanimously to install vape detectors in all bathrooms, which is where students frequently go to vape.

"I'm all for it, absolutely, I'm all for it,” Joseph Guillory, Port Arthur ISD trustee, said. “I think we need to do more."

Guillory works with students at the alternative campus in Port Arthur. He said  were involved in activities including fighting and vaping.

"We need to make sure that our kids understand that we're not being hard," Guillory said. "We're doing it out of love and care for your future. Your health is important. We need you to grow up and be functioning adults."

The vape detectors will work like smoke detectors. Port Arthur ISD Superintendent Mark Porterie said vaping is a top priority for the district.

"Vaping is one of the top five that we are addressing because it deals with the health of our students,” Porterie said.

The detectors are set to help stop vaping at schools, but Porterie believes it will take more than just prevention to see an end to trend.

“We're talking everyday, but we are going to have to do more than talk,” Porterie said. “We are going to have to show."

The superintendent is encouraging parents to be strict on their children when it comes to vaping.

"We definitely need the parents to help us to help their students and children stay healthy," Porterie said. "Because we're going to do everything we can to help, but we need the enforcement from home."

Porterie hopes to educate Port Arthur ISD students about the dangers and consequences of vaping.

“There are visuals we can share with our students to let them see what a pair of lungs looks like after they have taken in smoke for a period of years,” Porterie said.

Following Tuesday night's vote, district officials will now put out an ad in the paper for a contractor. They could move forward with the installation of detectors before the end of 2022. 

"It's a priority, and it's something we can stop, and vaping is not something that has to be," Porterie said. "We can stop vaping."

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