Fargo principal says vaping in schools is a growing problem in the metro

FARGO, ND. (Valley News Live) - The metro area is not excluded in the growing numbers as vaping sweeps the nation.

North High School Principal Andy Dahlen says he has seen this problem first-hand in his school.

"I think in our metro area, across all of our schools, we have students who are vaping,” Dahlen said. “Some of them are vaping in the bathrooms, and some even as bold as doing it in the classroom."

Fargo Public Schools say vaping is a growing concern in our area, particularly in our high schools.

"Especially in the last year, maybe even year and a half, we saw a real increase in vaping," Dahlen said. "Even on our senior survey results, we noticed that it was something coming up that kids were aware of other kids vaping in the bathroom."

Dahlen says vaping is a serious offense. In fact, it's illegal on school property. He says if they find a kid vaping, they file a police report. According to school rules, the child could also be suspended.

"You bring students in and have that conversation, and some kids will admit it,” Dahlen said. “In fact, we had one just the other day that came in and self-admitted he had been vaping. He's trying to quit."

Fargo Public Schools says they don't keep specific records about how many students have been suspended or disciplined due to vaping, but Dahlen says after seeing an increase in his school, teachers and staff are stepping up to educate students about the dangers of vaping.

"What we are really concerned about is that with anything that's chemical wise you are putting into your body, you're at that stage where your brain is developing, your body is developing so you don't want to infringe on that development," Dahlen said.

Staff members of North High School have been educated about what different vaping devices look like to better control the issue. Dahlen said they have also looked into the idea of vape detectors, and are exploring grants.

He says he hopes parents begin to educate themselves to help prevent vaping in our schools. The school plans to send out a video to parents this week about vaping so parents can better identify vaping materials that might be in their children's backpack or bedroom.