Officials at Broadneck High School removed the doors to about half of the bathrooms this week to discourage increasing numbers of students smoking, vaping or “juuling” inside.
Bob Mosier, county schools spokesman, said Principal Jim Todd decided to remove the doors Tuesday in bathrooms where stalls only could not be seen from the hallway.
“It’s unfortunate that it came to that,” he said.
Two weeks ago officials at the school near Cape St. Claire added doorstops to prop the doors open, but those were kicked off. So, the doors were removed Tuesday, Mosier said, and will remain removed until further notice.
Mosier said, to his knowledge, a similar change has not been made in other high schools.
The removal of the doors is detrimental to student privacy, said senior Sarah Noble, 17.
“It’s inconvenient and embarrassing,” she said.
She said the policy punishes all students, even though some are vaping and some aren’t. She would like to see officials work to punish students who are responsible, and educate students about the dangers of vaping.
“Taking the door off the bathroom isn’t hard,” she said. “Talking to students and getting across to them is.”
In addition to smoking, students have also been “juuling” in the bathrooms — named for a brand of palm-sized vaporizers some of which are similar in appearance to a USB drive.
The vaporizer heats up liquid inside of a pod, turning it into an aerosol that can be inhaled. There is as much nicotine inside of one pod as a pack of cigarettes, county health educator Mariah Fortman said.
Nicotine is harmful to students’ still-developing brains, and e-cigarettes still contain cancer-causing chemicals and ultra fine particles, she said.
“It’s still not as good as regular clean air,” she said.
The devices have become an increasing problem at the high school level, and even in middle schools, Mosier said. Every high school, and some middle schools, have had instances where the device was used.
“We’re not the only school system that’s seeing that,” he said. “It’s an issue our principals are certainly aware of.”
The small size of the devices makes it so students can hide them easily, Mosier said.
“Some, I have heard anecdotally, are adept at doing it in class,” he said.
Mosier said the system is working on a letter to send home to parents about the “juuling” issue.
On its website, JUUL has a section about how the company is trying to prevent sales to minors, something it says is at the core of its mission.
“Underage use of certain product categories remains a persistent problem, and at JUUL Labs we are committed to combating underage use of our product,” the page states.