SCHOOL NEWS: BCHS plans to add vape use detectors next year; Separations, appointments approved by school board

Brown County High School is planning a new way to prevent student use of vaporizers and dab pens at school.

During a presentation to the Brown County School Board on Dec. 1, BCHS Principal Trent Austin said the use of vape and dab pens is a recurring problem with high school students.

Austin presented data collected from the school to the school board to illustrate the seriousness of the issue.

Over the course of the last four trimesters, the school has confiscated a total of 78 vape or dab pens, Austin said.

Of those 78, 57 belonged to students, or about 9% of the student population.

The school’s goal is to install six vape detector devices in restrooms and locker rooms in January.

These devices, when triggered by vape use, will send alerts directly Austin or BCHS Assistant Principal, Chuck Hutchins via cellphone notification, allowing them to quickly check the space from the which the alert came.

Austin said the devices are being installed in restrooms and locker rooms because they are the No. 1 area where vapes are being used.

He added that he has spoken with other school principals that utilize the equipment and said it is “highly effective.”

The high school is currently working with Performance Services, a company that specializes in school, healthcare and government buildings, to test the detectors and find which will work the best for BCHS.

Austin added that the school has also put effort into educating students about the harm vaping causes, which he attributed to a drastic decline in dab pen usage since last year.

“Last year we were able to confiscate nine of the dab pens, which usually have a lace of THC. We have none of those this year, and so right now we’re still working on trying to reduce the amount of vapes here at the high school,” he said.

He also presented an update to the school’s programs of study for next year’s curriculum, which includes construction, engineering, precision machining, digital design, business, marketing and sales, entrepreneurship, bio-med, computer science and early childhood.

The school developed these programs last year, and Austin said the goal this year was for the school to get every 9th grader into one of these pathways.

More school news

The board approved the following staff changes and donations at their Dec. 1 meeting:

Accept $700 donation from the Brown County Community Foundation to the “We The People” program at Brown County High School.

Accept $200 donation from an anonymous donor to the “We The People” program at Brown County High School.

Second round of transportation bus contract bids.

Accept $129 donation from Centra Credit Union to the 2022 Governor’s Workforce Ethics Certificate program at Brown County High School.

Separating BCS bus driver Steven Douglas Payne, effective Dec. 31.

Separating BCHS teacher Dan Lyng, effective Dec. 1.

Separating Brown County Middle School teacher Jonathan Stevens, effective Nov. 29.

Separating BCHS custodian James Woods, effective Nov. 18.

Appointing Van Buren Elementary School teacher Amanda Grimes, bachelor’s degree, Level E ($45,250), with 11 years experience, full-time with benefits, effective Dec. 2.

Appointing Sprunica Elementary School paraprofessional Joy Smith, $12 per hour, part-time, no benefits, effective Dec. 2.

Appointing BCHS intense paraprofessional Jaelynn Wilkey, $12.25 per hour, part-time, no benefits, effective Dec. 2

Transferring VBES general education teacher Emily Gaither, to VBES special education teacher, effective Dec. 2