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Schools installing vape detectors

(NBC) - School administrators and even many students say vaping is one of the biggest problems inside local high schools.

Now, some northern Virginia schools are trying something new to deter students.

They're installing vape-detecting devices.

Julie Carey shows us how they work.

These are the devices just activated this week in two Stafford county high schools called flysense as in - fly on the wall.

As this demo video shows, they're typically placed in bathrooms or locker rooms where they can detect vape smoke.

Then through an app, an alert is sent to school administrators or security staff. They can then confront the student offender.

James Stemple was a principal before he became Stafford school's Executive Director of Constituent Services.

21 years as a principal this is probably one of biggest problems I've seen that we've had to deal with," said Stemple.

It's not just administrators & teachers worried about vaping.

At a recent meeting, the school board's student representative shared results of a survey in which vaping emerged as the number one concern.

Stemple says vaping jeopardizes student health & disrupts instruction.

'It's an addictive problem, kids need to leave class to hit their vape. Julie, we've had kids in class trying to vape in class," said Stemple.

Demand for vape detectors -- on the rise, the CEO of one company that makes them says after several months of use, many school districts see results.

"Typically we'll find a 85 to 90% reduction on campus," said Derek Peterson from Soter Technologies.

The first day the detectors were activated this week in Stafford. There were 5 vape seizures and at colonial forge high, one student - a repeat offender --was charged with a misdemeanor for having a vape pen with THC.

Most students who are caught will face suspensions. Right now - Stafford administrates view this as a trial period - to see if they help curb vaping

"That's the hope that it would be a deterrent to the behavior," said Stemple.

One thing the detectors have already done - underscored the scope of the problem. The challenge right now- keeping up with all the alerts they are getting.

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