Smoking at school becomes a big issue

By Jackson Ponder, Editor in Chief

Smoking products have evolved into fruity flavors, bright colors and clever names to keep kids, especially teens, interested and hooked. 

Recently at El Camino, nicotine and marijuana have started to become more of an issue—maybe more than ever since the high school got rid of smoking sections in the late 1970s. Administrators are forced to deal with students getting caught daily, and hall monitors have to monitor the bathrooms on campus to prevent students from smoking. Due to the inability to monitor all bathrooms on campus, some bathrooms have been locked and out of service for the campus nearly 1,200 students.  

Since the beginning of the year, the EC administration has been confiscating vape and marijuana devices from students at alarming rates. 

Just like with everything else, trends exist with the usage of vape devices. Right now, the most popular devices students use are disposables, with brand names such as Flum, Puff and Flow. These devices are cheaper than reusable products making them more affordable to the average high schooler. Disposable nicotine products are oftentimes easier to obtain as a minor, which enables many students to turn to these devices along with the price.

An EC senior, who asked to not be identified, commented on a photo of what had been confiscated since the beginning of the year. 

Marijuana devices found on campus span a lunch table.
Vape devices are or often disposable and inexpensive for students to carry on campus.

“That is maybe ten percent of what is on campus every day,” the senior said.

Another EC senior explained how many bathrooms on campus have become subject to closure due to misuse. It has become increasingly more difficult to use the facilities during passing periods and lunch.

Cory Stowell, an EC campus hall monitor, has first hand experience dealing with students possessing contraband. He explained why they’ve had to close bathrooms.

“It makes it so that there are less places [to use vape devices] and hopefully makes kids start saying something about it,” Stowell said. 

This is a move to try to create somewhat of a self-policing population among the student body. 

Vape nicotine devices aren’t the only ones seen around campus. Marijuana devices such as wax cartridges are very common on campus as they are an easy way to get “high.” Due to the fact that they often do not emit the distinct odor of marijuana they are extremely easy to conceal. These cartridges have been confiscated the most out of any other item by administration.

According to Vice Principal Evelyn Welborn, someone gets caught at least once a week, often more than that.

The consequences of using these devices as a minor speak for themselves but the consequences of having them on school grounds differs. Students that get caught in possession of nicotine devices are given a three-day suspension and a 20-day social probation period whereas marijuana devices carry a five-day suspension and the same social probation period.

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