Mitchell Schools Asks For Help with Vaping Problem – WKYK

On Friday, February 11th, Mitchell County Superintendent Chad Calhoun posted an open plea to parents, guardians and business owners on Facebook asking for help for the Mitchell County School System. Calhoun stated that there has been a tenfold increase in the use of vapes at the middle schools and high school. Besides the concern over lung injuries from vaping, a further concern is that some students are apparently using illegal drugs in the vapes.  Safety of the students is a top concern but any illegal offenses are also turned over to the Sheriff’s Department or Police Department.  Calhoun asks that parents help out by knowing what their children are carrying, being aware that some vapes look like flash drives and  that business owners  help by being sure their employees are not selling to underage students. Another issue the letter addresses is a lot of vape activity apparently is happening in the restrooms. Students have reported being scared to go into the restrooms for fear of inhaling the smoke or being accused and bullied as a snitch. School staff is stationed at the restrooms to enforce covid restrictions but do not prevent students from using the restroom. Calhoun says their biggest fear is losing a student and/or drug addiction beginning at an early age. The school does have an anonymous system called “Say Something” that is on the school system website where any illegal activity can be reported.
(Photos courtesy Mitchell County Schools)
Parents/Guardians/Business Owners
Mitchell County School System is asking for your help.  Mitchell High School, Bowman Middle School, and Harris Middle School are having issues with students bringing, buying, and using vapes at school. The use has increased tenfold.  Vapes within themselves are a health concern for our students. Now, even more concerning is that we are seeing illegal drugs being used in the vapes.  We do not want a student to get sick, addicted to drugs or experience lung injuries or death from the use of vapes.  We are including an attachment of what some of these vapes look like.
Students have come to us, scared to go into the restroom during the day because of the “vapers”.  They don’t want to smell it, breathe it, or be known as the “snitch that told on them in fear of then being bullied.” Staff do stand outside in the hall, not inside the restroom, to limit the number of students in the restroom at a time. The limits are based on the number of stalls/toilets in each restroom.  Staff do not stand outside of the restroom to listen to conversations or prevent students from using the restroom.  
Students are purchasing vapes from local stores in our county, usually from other people around their age that work in the stores.  We are asking local businesses to please help us and address this issue with your employees.  Some students are buying multiple vapes and then selling the vapes to other students at school (usually in the restroom).
Parents/Guardians, please ask your student about this and know what they have on them or in their book bags each day.  The vapes are hard to identify because a lot look like other items (such as a flash drive for a computer).  
Our biggest fear is losing a student and/or drug addiction that can begin at an early age.  So please help us!
Also, any illegal reported offenses are investigated and reported to the local Sheriff’s Department or Police Department immediately.  We cannot comment on what was done, victims, perpetrator, or witnesses in any of these.  We do ask anyone to report an illegal activity to any staff member and it will be passed on immediately to a law enforcement officer.  (I am sure Sheriff Street, Chief Summerlin, and Chief Ramsey would verify).  We also have an anonymous system called “Say Something” app that is on our website.  If you have any questions, please contact your school principal.
Chad Calhoun
Mitchell County Schools 
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