LAKE FENTON (WJRT) - (12/18/2017) - Administrators at Lake Fenton High School and Middle School are working to put an end to a very big campus problem: vaping.
A letter sent home to parents last week outlines how the schools will crack down hard on use or possession of vaping products on school grounds.
"If the question is are we trying to be aggressive? Absolutely," said High School Principal Chris Belcher.
He sent out a newsletter to Lake Fenton parents of sixth through 12th graders last week, hoping to educate them on what he considers the district's newest epidemic.
"Over the course of maybe the last five to 10 years, we've seen a dramatic increase," Belcher said.
He believes the students don't realize what they're inhaling.
"According to the American Lung Association, they're unregulated products, so they don't even have to list all of the ingredients that are in them," he said.
Already this school year, teachers and staff have collected dozens of the devices.
"The devices that they're using are dramatically different that you wouldn't even recognize what it is," Belcher said. "Some of them look like a USB device. Some of the MODs look like an iPod or even the larger ones that people traditionally associate with being an e-cigarette."
Students caught with one face severe consequences: the first time is a three-day suspension, the second is a five-day suspension and it goes all the way up to a 10-day suspension.
For athletes, it's worse: the first time caught results in sitting out 25 percent of the season, the second time results in sitting out for an entire calendar year and the third time results in a total ban from all athletics until graduation.
"It's a safety issue, it's a health issue and its keeping kids from getting their education in school," Belcher said.
Besides the newsletter to parents, the school is also working with Michigan State Police to host informational sessions for staff, parents and students in the coming months.