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Upper School Blog

Addressing the Hazards of Vaping

Ben Dougherty
In October, we addressed the topic of Juuling and vaping with upper school students during homeroom. At Derryfield, we attempt to proactively address issues that impact the health and wellness of our students. Ms. Llewelyn recently brought six upper school students to a full day workshop on the dangers of vaping and as peer leaders they are now sharing that information with other students. They presented in an Anatomy and Physiology class and are leading an 8th grade health class session on what they learned. Our colleagues at schools across the country are reporting a rapid increase in the number of students using Juuling/vaping devices and the companies sales have surged over 800% in the last year with a projected revenue of almost $1 billion. In fact, many students have spoken with me and other faculty candidly about their concerns and the increase they are seeing in the use of these devices.

We reminded the students not only of the health risks but also the laws and the school consequences if they are found using a Juul/vape/e-cigarette on campus. Derryfield treats Juuling/vaping like any other illegal drug or alcohol, and it will not be tolerated. Our All School Handbook outlines the consequences for students if they are found with these devices, which include community service, suspension and possibly expulsion.

In an effort to continue to address this topic, we are planning informational talks for students and parents in early December. Laurie Warnock, MPH from Northern New England Poison Control will be speaking with 8th-12th grade students during our Community Meeting on December 3 about the dangers of Vaping and will also be doing an evening presentation for parents on December 4 at 6:00 p.m. in the Lyceum. Meanwhile, I urge you to continue the conversation at home with your children. I've included a few articles and informational links that may help you. Although these conversations can be difficult, they are so necessary. Research tells us that adolescents who start using drugs or alcohol before age 14 have a 40% chance of becoming drug/alcohol dependent as an adult. This makes the teenage years all the more important. It is a critical period during which a step in the wrong direction can have dramatic implications later in life. We encouraged students to reach out to their teachers, advisers, or Dean Stimpson if they have any questions or concerns. As always, if you have any concerns, please contact me.
Ben Dougherty
Head of Upper School
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