Juuls in School
In order to keep up with juuling’s popularity among teens, FHN plans to combat the issue by raising awareness about it
Published: February 28, 2018
At the end of his sixth hour Environmental Studies class in early December, a student approached biology teacher Joe Brocksmith to report a classmate who had juuled in class. Prior to this, Brocksmith had heard of the e-cigarette trend from a KSDK story over Thanksgiving weekend. The story gave meaning to a term he had overheard in students’ conversations: juuling.
Small and inconspicuous, Juuls look like a flash drive to the untrained eye. Students can be found secretly juuling in classrooms and bathrooms and a bit more openly on social media. Brocksmith finds this ridiculous, but he still sees it as important to make sure kids know that adults in the building are aware of Juuls. For the past few months, Brocksmith has taken to telling students to “stay off that Juul” as a way of adhering to both beliefs.
“If you’re not thinking about it, it’s very easy to [not notice kids juuling in class] since they’re so subtle and discreet,” Brocksmith said. “It’s very easy to miss. It only takes a kid a few seconds to do it, so if you’re not staring at your students for 100 percent of class, it’s pretty easy for a kid to sneak one. I would imagine almost every single teacher here has probably had some kid do it in their classroom with how popular it’s been.”
Smoking e-cigarettes in school was not unheard of before this year, but according to Assistant Principal Jeff Blankenship, juuling has made the issue more prevalent than in the past. Compared to some other schools in the area, FHN was slow to pick up juuling en masse, until around halfway through second quarter, when FHN administrators saw an increase in the frequency of students juuling at school.
“We need to raise awareness,” Blankenship said. “We need to make sure [students] know that we know [about Juuls]. I think that certain students think they’re getting away with something, but they aren’t. We hear about a lot of things. [Personally], way more than doing any sort of discipline on them, which unfortunately does happen when we hear about those cases, I am much more in the boat of ‘It’s bad for you.’ I think we’re so early in this vaping thing that we don’t know that yet, but at some point we’re going to get there.”
At one point, FHN disciplined three to four students for juuling each day. ISAP was full, largely due to juuling. It has gotten to such an extent that on Dec. 15, the issue was addressed to students. Associate Principal Katie Greer delivered an announcement informing students of what will happen if they are caught juuling – consequences including getting their Juuls thrown away. Assemblies that took place Jan. 8 and 9 reiterated to students that teachers and administrators are aware of juuling and that students are not to juul in school.
“This school is not unique, in that we’re not the only ones this is happening to,” School Resource Officer Travis Scherder said. “This is more than our district. This is high schools across America. There’s news stories on ‘Dateline’ about it. I mean, like I said, we’re not unique. [Juuling] is one of those trends that’ll come and go, and it will be something else next.”