Broadneck High School in Annapolis, Maryland has made some big news lately after making the decision to remove stall doors from half of the student restrooms. This is in response to what the school is saying is a growing concern of students vaping and “juuling” on school grounds.
Juuling, as you’ve probably guessed is the use of the Juul vaporizer, but it’s becoming a generic term for any of the slim pod-based vaporizers on the market now.
The school is removing doors in all bathroom where the stalls can’t be seen from the hallway. Broadneck originally tried to crack down on vaping by propping the doors open, but after students removed the doorstops, the school went a step further, now by taking away student privacy.
Interestingly, Broadneck isn’t the first school where bathroom access or privacy has been restricted to prevent vaping – a school in Connecticut, Jonathan Law, shut down all but one of their bathrooms in January in an effort to prevent smoking and vaping in bathrooms.
Removing Stall Doors Is Overkill
You’ll often find public restrooms without stall doors in highly populated cities to prevent drug abuse, sexual assault, and to prevent homeless people from sleeping in them, but to remove them to prevent students from vaping is just extreme.
It’s not clear yet if these policies have reduced vaping on school grounds in any of the schools have already enacted them, but removing privacy in bathrooms will certainly damage the emotional health of students. It’s also important to note that most students aren’t using the restrooms to vape either.
One student at Broadneck, 17-year-old Sarah Noble, called it “inconvenient and embarrassing” and detrimental to student privacy.
According to school officials at Broadneck High School, they haven’t had any complaints from parents about the new policy, but students have responded to the new policy negatively when talking with news outlets.
Aren’t There Alternatives?
Students don’t believe the change will prevent smoking or vaping in the bathrooms and they feel that there are other ways the school could have responded to the problem. And I personally would have to agree.
For example, they could have installed smoke detectors in the bathrooms. This doesn’t need to be a high-tech expensive solution. Schools in New York have actually installed devices called the Fly Sense, which can detect vapor and send an alert to a cell phone, after which a school staff member could check it out.
That’s an easy solution that would allow staff to catch students in the act and punish them accordingly, while also maintaining the privacy of the entire student body.
This is obviously becoming a big problem, and I wouldn’t doubt if we hear about more schools enacting similar policies.