Vape detectors installed in Chandler school bathroom

CHANDLER, Ariz. (FOX 10) -- It's been a growing problem at schools across the country. According to the Surgeon General, vaping has doubled in the past year, and the use of e-cigarettes among the youth has skyrocketed.

In Chandler, Kyrene Aprende Middle School has noticed the dangerous trend and is adding vape detectors in the bathrooms.

Aprende is the first in the state to install this type of technology. According to school principal Renee Kory, vaping has become a major issue.

"Last year, we started to have a lot of students have vape or being reported to us that they had vape, and since then it's just multiplied," said Kory. "This year, almost on a weekly basis, sometimes daily, we have a report of students vaping."

The main place some students are using their e-cigarettes or vape pens is in the bathrooms, according to Kory.

"The students know the bathrooms are the only places that don't have cameras," said Kory.

The Kyrene School District has decided to get ahead of the problem by installing vape detectors in the 7th and 8th-grade boys and girls bathrooms at Aprende. If vape is detected, the faculty is alerted.

"We'll get either get a text message on the phone, or I'll also get an email, if I'm sitting in my office, at my desk, and that will alert us to the exact location and what bathroom it is, and we can come out here and meet the student or students that have been in that bathroom," said Assistant Principal Carl Nasuta.

Being caught comes with a stiff penalty, sometimes suspension. Kory says the goal isn't to punish students but to help educate them.

"We're seeing a lot of kids, as early as 8th grade who are already addicted to vape," said Kory. "Kids that we are busting two, three, four times, and they tell us we can't stop. So for us as educators, the biggest piece to us is that we worry about the health implications."

If these vape detectors are successful, district officials say they will consider installing the devices in other schools.