Students suspended for sneaky pen-like vaping devices
A southside high school has taken tough action and suspended a group of students for using sneaky vaping devices that look like highlighter pens.
Beenleigh State High School principal Matt O'Hanlon, who was crowned last year's Queensland Principal of the Year, said the students were suspended this week for using the devices, which look like highlighter pens or biros and come in flavours such as Red Bull, bubblegum and blueberry.
Mr O' Hanlon said the devices were targeting school students and were being sold in "known" shops near the Beenleigh school.
He said teachers were unable to differentiate some of the devices, which looked similar to pens and left no smell of tobacco even though they contained nicotine.
He said five years ago, students had been suspended for boldly smoking vapes in class but he said this term students had been vaping in school toilets.
Parents had complained of one store in Alamein St, in walking distance to the school, where pipes and smoking paraphernalia were sold from a back room.
"There are shops that sell them all around the school," Mr O'Hanlon said.
"We don't provide or supply them to our students.
"The latest models of vaping machines look like highlighter pens or biros and come in flavours such as Red Bull, bubblegum and blueberry.
"They are not cheap, so kids are paying for them with money parents may have given them for other reasons.
"They are clearly aimed at the youth market but are a legitimate product and our feedback is they are very easy to obtain.
"We are also concerned about students sharing vapes, which is not hygienic."
Mr O'Hanlon said vaping was not new and the school had experienced "sporadic breakouts" of it over the past three years.
"The difference now is that the devices look like everyday items a kid might have in their school bag." he said.
Mr O' Hanlon could not reveal how many students were suspended or the time frame for their suspension due to the school's comprehensive privacy regulations.
He reminded parents, carers and students that under government legislation al schools are smoke-free zones.
He said that applied to cigarettes and electronic cigarettes or vapes.
Any student who brings or uses the devices at school will be suspended and the devices confiscated.
Mr O'Hanlon said some of the devices cost more than $20 and once confiscated he was unable to return them to a minor.
Originally published as Students suspended for sneaky pen-like vaping devices