“School Safety Detectors”: What Are They and What Do Students Think About Them?

By Haley Hart 

March 5, 2024
Photo credit: Alpena Public Schools

I’m sure we have all heard a thing or two regarding the “vape detectors” newly implemented in a few bathrooms across Morro Bay High School’s campus. Whether it be people making fun of them or praising them, they have definitely become a new topic of conversation. But what are they exactly? 

According to Will Wallace, Morro Bay High School’s assistant principal, “the detectors are basically technology that helps keep our campus safe.” He sharing that before getting the vape detectors, MBHS staff “used to get text-a-tips about kids vaping in the bathroom and when we implemented them (the vape detectors) we wanted the kids to know that hey, we’re listening, we’re doing something.”

Naturally, several students have had a number of opinions regarding the detectors. One anonymous junior says, ”I actually like them, it makes me less paranoid to go into the bathroom because, well, it scares the people smoking in there, like it makes them more nervous to do it.”

However not every student felt so positively about them; one freshman had this to add, “I don’t really know if they’re that useful, like in my opinion they aren’t really doing that much. They make going to the bathroom here even more inconvenient, and I didn’t even think that was possible”.                 

One anonymous sophomore that has been “using nicotine since about 7th grade” shared their methods of “working around” the detectors, sharing, “I just go off campus now, honestly, like, there's not really another option.” Likewise, a junior shared her experience with the whole situation saying, “I don’t think it’s anyone's business. It’s not like I’m doing an illegal substance. It’s just what I do sometimes, like how is it bothering anyone?”

All of this discourse begs the question, “what can we do to solve this vaping issue?” One student shared their opinion, saying, “literally just put the elf bar down, it's not hard.” An anonymous senior suggested a “vape room” so to speak, saying, “I’m dead serious, like just a designated room for all the vapers to go so I can pee in peace.” On the other hand, a fellow senior also added, “I’m glad they listened to the complaints, I feel heard, it’s been going on for a while.”

Whether you think the detectors are a helpful piece of technology, think they’re the worst thing at this school since randos being able to use the pool in the middle of the day and walk across the quad in their towels, or don’t really care at all, MBHS plans to continue to implement safety detectors across campus.