SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – High schools and middle schools in Springfield have teamed up in an effort to reduce vaping among students.
District leaders from Springfield Public Schools have added new drop-off boxes at several schools for students to safely and securely discard vape and tobacco products.
The so-called Vape Safe Drop Box has been installed and strategically placed at each middle school and high school within the district so students can discard products anonymously. According to a news release, students can text a particular code for support in discarding the products.
“The purpose of the drop box is to promote free and anonymous text-based cessations services, while also creating a safe place for a student, staff or community member to turn in a vape device to be properly disposed of,” said Brad Brummel, SPS coordinator of physical education, health and engagement activities. “This creates a safer learning environment in our schools and provides safe opportunities for students to make health-enhancing behaviors.”
The Greene County Tobacco and Vape Prevention Coalition are leading the Vape Safe Drop Box initiative. Both organizations are committed to preventing tobacco use in the greater Springfield area. The coalition then created the child-focused Springfield Area Vape Education (SAVE) program, which led to the idea of Vape Safe Drop Boxes
Courtney Martin, director of student services, says the effort compliments other efforts underway to reduce vaping and tobacco usage.
“The numbers nationally and regional trends indicated that there was an issue at the high and middle school level with vaping,” said Martin. “We knew that we needed to do something to give kids an out and an opportunity not just to get rid of the vapes, but also to provide support to address the stress, anxiety or mental health issues that lead students to turn to tobacco.”
School resource officers and counselors have been equipped to help students quit vaping with resources and support. SPS and SAVE are also working together to potentially provide one-on-one counseling services specifically for students who are choosing to cease tobacco usage.
“The boxes, the resources at the school, these are intended to give kids the ability to discard vapes and then seek out somebody at the school to talk to, if they have an issue,” said Martin. “It’s a first step. And if we get one vape turned in, one student who quits, it’s a success.”
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