A school resource officer (SRO) in Pennsylvania will soon be accompanied by a K-9 partner trained in detecting vape smoke, a move that officials hope will deter students from engaging in the activity.
SRO Kevin Bradley will begin the new school year at Central Columbia School District with K-9 Officer Sully, a K-9 specially trained for vape smoke detection.
Bradley said that vaping is, unfortunately, very common at the school.
“It’s increased, and it’s into the middle school. We have fifth and sixth graders who have word on it. So hopefully, this will be a deterrent. Hopefully, we don’t have to arrest anybody for it. Our idea is — keep it out of the schools.”
School Superintendent Josh Groshek hopes Sully will be a deterrent against kids vaping in school.
“We really want [the dog] as more of a deterrent and keeping kids from vaping while in school. We don’t want them vaping anywhere but keep it out of the schools at least,” he said.
Since the rise in popularity of vaping, school administrators have had their hands full.
“There’ are kids going out, meeting in the bathrooms, and thankfully, we have students informing us of other students doing this. However, now with the dog here, it’s going to help us even more,” Groshek added.
Sully is also trained in marijuana and gunpowder detection, but officials say that vaping is likely to be the most commonly banned substance that the dog will detect.
Sully was acquired for $9,000 with money raised by the school’s parent-teacher organization. Local businesses also volunteered to feed and treat the dog for free.
Sully will begin work in late August.
“Like every other community, we care about our kids. And we know kids are making bad choices,” Groshek said.
Other schools across the country have faced similar problems with students vaping and have come up with their own unique solutions to the problem.
In Alabama, school districts are even installing vape sensors in restrooms to catch students in the act.
Schools have noticed an uptick in vaping after students returned to the classrooms following COVID-19 lockdowns.