GDS Not Immune to Vaping Epidemic: Junior Removed from Homecoming

Homecoming ended early for one GDS student.

The student, granted anonymity by The Augur Bit, was caught holding a vaping device in the first floor men’s bathroom by Dean of School Life Quinn Killy. According to students familiar with the events, he was promptly escorted out of the dance.

The incident highlights a vaping epidemic sweeping GDS and other high schools across the country. Over the past year, vaping has become a nationwide fad both on and off campuses. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, between one and two of every ten students over the age of 15 admits to vaping on a monthly basis. Whether they choose dab pens, Juuls or other inconspicuous devices, kids are finding ways to smoke a variety of addictive chemicals.

“It’s become the thing that used to be kids smoking cigarettes,” said Head of School Katie Gibson. Killy agreed. “I’m sure there were similar conversations that happened with cigarettes. With Juuls, they’re so little, you can hide them, some of them don’t have an odor, so it’s tricky. It’s a tough thing.”

The Augur Bit interviewed three students who were in the bathroom. The students were also granted anonymity to protect them from disciplinary consequences.

One such student said that Killy walked in to the bathroom around 10 pm, saw the student with a cart–an attachment to a vape pen filled with cannabis concentrates–in his hand, and immediately grabbed the junior’s arm and removed him from the dance.

The accused student declined to comment on the specifics of the event or the accompanying disciplinary action, but called for a greater degree of transparency on the part of the school’s administration: “At homecoming, if you’re going to have an administrator checking the bathroom every ten minutes, maybe put a sign outside the bathroom that says ‘warning, administrator will check bathroom for Juuling every fifteen minutes.”

Killy commented, “I walked into a bathroom, kid was vaping. There it is.” He added that this was not the first time he’d caught a student smoking.

“I mean,” Killy said, “there are rules you have to follow, there are school rules to follow, there are laws to follow. But I’m not telling you, I’m not judging or saying you can’t do this in terms of what you do in your home or with your family. Obviously, in school, and in school-functions, it’s a different story, because there is a rule about doing it.” Killy also pointed out that buying a vape is illegal for kids under 18.

The GDS student handbook does not define specific consequences for being caught in the possession of an electronic smoking device, but it does state that the infraction will “likely to lead to disciplinary consequence.” The administration has not informed the student body of any punishment, and declined to comment to The Augur Bit. Several students suggested that the student received a one-day suspension.

High school administrations have struggled to keep up with the rampant rise of vaping. “I don’t know what else we could do to tackle it, unless I was able to have security guards posted up in 12 locations in the school, and video cameras in bathrooms, and, you know, there are laws against that,” said Gibson.

“My goal in life is not to police Juuling and vaping,” said Killy. “But, as educators, part of what we hope to achieve is to keep you guys safe, and make sure you’re coming to school where you can learn, and where you can have a good time, and where you can grow as an individual.”

This is the first segment of The Vaping Volumes, a series of articles on vaping at GDS.

By Xander Davies ’19 and Oliver Satola ’20