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NOBLESVILLE, Ind.— The Noblesville school district is trying to stop teenagers from vaping by putting vaping detectors in three of its buildings.

They will be installed at Noblesville High School along with Noblesville East and Noblesville West Middle Schools later this year. 

School leaders hope the addition will help reverse a growing trend among teens.

“There are a few kids, about two in my grade and a lot in eighth-grade I know that vape,” said Ashlynne Kirkman, a sixth-grader at Noblesville East Middle School.

Kirkman says vaping is becoming a real problem in the district.

“I think it should be recognized at the high school especially because there are kids that have gotten caught in the bathroom vaping,” Ashlynne said.

A district spokeswoman says the sensors work similarly to smoke alarms and will notify school leaders when vaping is detected.

Noblesville Schools released a statement that said the following in part: 

These will be an important deterrent as the sensors will assist administrators in quickly addressing student vaping. … We work with our Noblesville Police Department school resource officers to address vaping, and the dangers of vaping are covered with students in health classes.

“I think it’s a great thing to be in place actually. I wasn’t aware that it was a problem until recently. And I think it would be a pro, not very much of a con, especially since the age of legal tobacco use is now 21,” said Shelby Kirkman, Ashlynne’s mother.

District representatives say vaping has become such an issue that the they recently implemented a new remediation program at Noblesville High School.

Any student who is caught vaping must attend a mandatory Saturday vape counseling class.

While the district continues its fight against vaping, parents say the sensors are a good idea, but they fear children may see the rules as something meant to be broken.

“Initially, it’ll kind of put maybe some fear into the students. But like all rules, I think at some point they might try to be broken. I’m interested to see how that will unfold,” Shelby Kirkman said. 

The sensors are one of the many safety initiatives being paid for through the November 2018 referendum that provided money for safety, mental health, and staff compensation.

School leaders have not said exactly where the sensors will go or given an exact timeline to get them installed. 

Story by Jenny Dreasler