KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) — Kingsport City Schools sent a letter expressing concern for student health and encouraging parents to discuss the dangers of drugs.
Assistant supervisor Dr. Andy True said the school system has seen a large increase in students using vaping devices on campus.
“About 111 last year, we have more than that already,” True said. “We have more than double this year’s and still have a few weeks of school to go.”
This health concern has led schools such as Dobyns-Bennett Middle School to begin implementing strategies to combat these issues. The school has installed steam sensors and closed some bathrooms during certain times of the day.
“Unfortunately, there are probably about 40 to 50 students that we deal with on a regular basis that cause the restrooms to be closed just because we don’t have the manpower to staff,” said school resource officer Mark Smelser. “But that’s how we’re able to put mass security controls in place.”
Smelser said resource officials impound an average of 60 to 110 heat per day, but it varies daily.
“We find a lot of heat in the school that is not related to people,” Smelser said. “They could have fallen down a pant leg, fallen out of a hood, left in a toilet, sitting on a toilet paper dispenser, just different places.”
Vicki Johnston, the nursing supervisor for Kingsport City Schools, said nurses are taking care of any kind of drug-related symptoms.
“One of the things we’ve seen a lot is rapid heart rates,” Johnston said. “The heart rate for these students will be around 100, 120, 150, which is one of the classic things you might see with someone who has used drugs.”
School officials are working to keep students safe.
“For us, the biggest issue is what can we do to protect the health of our students,” True said. “Making sure everyone is on the same page with this, trying to save lives, trying to improve and prevent negative health implications for our students is our main goal.”
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