CHICOPEE, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Vaping and juuling continues to be problem, studies show, especially among young students across the country.
"I think it's a growing concern. It's not just a Chicopee problem. It's a national problem and I think we've, sort of, taken the approach of a public health epidemic," said Alvin Morton, Chicopee's assistant superintendent for student support services.
Chicopee Public Schools are back in session and administrative officials have a number of items to tackle, but one at the top of their list, again, is vaping.
"It's not just a high school problem. It's permeating down to the middle school and even we've seen signs of it in elementary school," Morton added.
Last year, if students were caught vaping on school property, they received a fine. Morton said they issued about 10 fines during the 2018-2019 school year.
"...but we still have issues where the stuff is confiscated, the actual paraphernalia is confiscated by school administration. Kids are dealt out a consequence and part of that consequence is some type of education," Morton explained.
Chicopee Public Schools told Western Mass News that they are doing something different this year: using the tools that students use every day like social media to start an anti-vaping campaign.
"We're doing a geofilter contest for kids in elementary, middle, and high school. They're going to submit a draft design and the winners will actually go to a graphic designer to actually get put onto Snapchat," Morton said.
Chicopee High School Principal Carol Kruser said on top of educating students and parents, it's also important to inform their teachers and staff.
"We have had some faculty meeting talking about vaping, what all the vapes look like, the different kinds. I think they're quickly learning, but the minute you know them all, another shape comes up, another style, so it's really easy for anybody to miss what a vape looks like," Kruser said.