Education Department shuts down parents' claims kids are vaping in class, on school bus – ABC News


Education Department shuts down parents' claims kids are vaping in class, on school bus
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The Education Department has shut down claims from parents in regional WA who say children are vaping in class and on the school bus. 
A parent, who did not want to be named, called for more action and education from schools after her 12-year-old son was suspended for vaping. 
The woman said she was shocked to hear her son had been caught using an e-cigarette on campus and demanded to know who supplied him with the device.
"He had been given a contact on Snapchat where he could buy vapes from and he had messaged this person and arranged to meet this person and buy vapes off them — which is terrifying in itself, a 12-year-old child arranging to meet a complete stranger, that could have gone all kinds of bad," she said.
The mother said she had since grounded her son and confiscated his devices.
However, the West Australian mother said she was "a little bit disappointed" in the response from the school.
"I actually put a post in a mums' group chat anonymously because I didn't realise how bad the situation [vaping] was and other parents commented that younger kids were too afraid to go to the toilet because older kids were in there vaping," she said.
"Another parent said older kids are selling the vapes and recruiting other kids to sell to the younger ones.
"One parent said that kids are vaping in class in front of teachers … and vaping on the school buses."
The Education Department said the school involved had investigated the claims and was "unable to find substantiating evidence".
It said students found vaping at school were suspended.
The Education Department was unable to disclose how many vaping-related suspensions had occurred in regional and metro schools in WA in the past two years.
Speaking about vaping in the Great Southern, Albany Senior High School principal Melissa Walker told the ABC that she was aware of some students vaping at school.
She called the act an "unhealthy choice" and was concerned students were "doing the wrong thing".
"Parents can be assured that when students are caught vaping on school grounds or are found to be in possession of vapes, they face disciplinary action, including suspension," Ms Walker said.
"We're working with other agencies to educate our students about the harmful effects of vaping so that they can change their behaviour and make good, healthy decisions."
Ms Walker said the curriculum had been expanded to increase the emphasis on the dangers of vaping.
"I ask parents to work with us and speak with their children about vaping so together we can promote positive behaviour on school grounds and outside of school," she said.
"Parents can also contact us if they have any concerns."
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