W.G. Murdoch Vaping Redution Strategy

W.G. Murdoch Vaping Reduction Strategy

In support of our students and to ensure compliance with the WGM Prohibited Substances Policy and Rocky View Schools AP162 – Smoke Free School Division, W.G. Murdoch is responding to parent, student and teacher concerns around the prevalence of vaping inside and around the school with a multi-faceted approach including support and supervision. It is our belief that a collaborative approach to this issue will have the greatest benefit to our students, enabling our community to decrease instances of vaping (and use of other prohibited substances) in and around the school.

Facts concerning vaping

While some youth think that vaping is ‘harmless’ or less damaging than smoking, there is little scientific evidence around the long-term effects of vaping. Though there is no ‘burning’ of substances, there are chemicals involved in the process ingested into the mouth throat and lungs that may be damaging. As the use of vaping has increased, there are increasing medical concerns being investigated by the CDC in the US and Health Canada and media reports of medical emergencies linked back to vaping.

For more information including facts about vaping, and a guide to talking to teens about vaping, please see this link from health canada. We have also found this article useful in talking about the health concerns regarding vaping.

What we are doing at the school

As a school, we work hard to investigate any information provided to us about student us of prohibited substances. As RVS and WGM both provide students direction to keep such substances out of the school, when possession or use of these substances is found, it is dealt with through the progressive discipline cycle. This means, students will be suspended for possession and use of vaping products in the school. In addition, students involved in a second occurrence involving prohibited substances will be required to be present for a meeting with their parents and administration to develop a plan ensure they will no longer bring such substances into the school community.

In addition to the discipline associated, we also offer several supports for students who may be using prohibited substances (in or out of school) but want to quit.

  • Our guidance counsellor provides direct support to students in talking through concerns and can connect students to outside agency supports as well.
  • As a school we can engage RVS supports such as our Family School Liaison to support families struggling with substance abuse and/or in need of additional medical supports
  • Agencies such as Community Links and Alberta Health Services are connected to our school and we can support families in accessing their services as needed.

Our school administration is having conversations with each class to ensure students are clear on the consequences of having/using prohibited substances in the school. These conversations also outline the supports mentioned above, so students are aware of their availability.

Finally, staff are working hard to monitor areas identified as ‘hot spots’ where students may feel they are able to ‘get away with’ the use of prohibited substances as they are generally supervised less often. This includes spot checks of washroom and changeroom areas during times they may not generally be. This is a team effort in the school, involving all staff and administration.

What can we do as parents/guardians?

As a support to our vaping action strategy, families can inform themselves using the resources mentioned above, learn the signs of vaping and directly ask your children if they have been involved in vaping or have seen it in the school. Encourage your student to bring forward to the school information they have or have seen. Information is kept in the strictest confidence and is only used to support the school in ensuring it is safe for all students. We do not tell students where information has come from when investigating concerns. If you are not sure what the various styles of vaping products look like (some are as small as a USB drive, and look similar) please see this information page from the CDC in the US or this infographic from Health Canada.

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