REDWOOD CITY (KPIX 5) — The Redwood City School District Board of Trustees voted Wednesday night to install eight vape detectors at the district’s largest comprehensive middle school.

John F. Kennedy Middle School will get a vape detector installed in each of its eight bathrooms, which will send a text to administrators when vaping is detected.

The district follows the Alcalanes High School District in turning to technology to catch students who are using e-cigarettes. The smoke from vape pens is highly undetectable, making it almost impossible to catch students in the act.

“They would vape in the janitor’s closet or on the stage,” said Gary Winthorp, who said he attends a school in Redwood City. “There’s people that do it in class and they just blow it into the desk or in the closets.”

Kennedy Middle School will serve as a test site for the vape detectors. The district has twelve schools, but doesn’t have any high schools.

“I think vaping is a terrible idea, there’s nothing healthy about it,” said Redwood City resident Len Goren. “To me it’s no different than smoking so anything that can be done to reduce that habit.”

Redwood City School District Spokesperson Jorge Quintana said there have been reports of students vaping on campus across the district, and that the detectors are a proactive step in preventing students from smoking e-cigarettes.

It’s a lesson the district wants to teach not only in the classroom, but for life.

“Other schools have lost students,” said Quintana. “We’re trying to avoid that.”

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