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Local school districts working to prevent student vaping

Posted at 1:35 PM, Sep 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-26 16:35:59-04

As concerns grow over the increase in youth vaping, local school districts are trying to curb the habit among students.

"There is a tendency to say not my child, not here in Paso Robles or San Luis Obispo County. It's really bringing awareness that it is here," said Jennifer Gaviola, Deputy Superintendent, Paso Robles Joint Unified School District.

The San Luis Coastal and Paso Robles Joint Unified School Districts say with vaping on the rise, the problem needs to be addressed now.

"Over the last year and a half, we've seen a rise in incidents at our high school, particularly within bathrooms, so we've had increased students getting in trouble for vaping at school," Gaviola said.

"It's a very concerning data point for our district and every district in this county, absolutely," said Chris Dowler, Deputy Director of Student Support Services, San Luis Coastal Unified School District.

At Tuesday's Paso Robles school board meeting, Gaviola presented her plan to help.

"We really want to have a three-pronged approach of education, awareness, and action," Gaviola said.

Students teaching others about the dangers of vaping, parent forums, an anonymous tip line for students to report vaping, and a take-two program where teachers will pull two students aside to talk with them are all part of the anti-vaping plan.

Dowler says they work with the county to educate students on the dangers of vaping.

"Guest speakers that come and speak to our science classes, our health classes, general student assemblies, they'll come talk to parent groups about the dangers and hazards associated with vaping," Dowler said.

Dowler says he expects even more to be done in the future to curb the use of vaping.

Gaviola says although vaping is in the community and schools in San Luis Obispo County, she hopes to not only reduce the amount of vaping incidents in high schools but prevent it in lower grades.

Community forums, student and staff training, a tip line, and a student task force will all begin in October in the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District to reduce the use of vaping.