GREENFIELD, Ind. - School resource officers in Hancock County are giving tickets to underage students caught vaping. It is a new idea the district started to combat this issue.
Inside high schools across Indiana, more and more students are picking up this trend. Adam Barton is the principal at Eastern Hancock High School and Middle School. In his office, he has a drawer of e-cigarettes confiscated from his students.
"The vaping issue is something that has grown very quickly," he said. "The numbers we have seen you are looking at 25 to 30 percent of students in each grade level that have already tried it."
Administrators at Greenfield-Central High School see this issue too. Now, both campuses let their school resource officers issue tickets to underage students caught vaping.
"They didn’t know. They are like oh I get a ticket? They think 30 40 bucks and I tell them the price and their reaction sets in," said Josh Mullins, a school resource officer at Greenfield-Central High School.
The price is more than $130. So far this school year, school resource officers have issued at least 10 tickets at each campus.
"One more reason to say no, I don’t want to get trouble," said Barton.
Officials hope this punishment discourages the student from doing it again. After a student under 18-years-old is caught vaping on school grounds, administrators let his or her parents know.
"The parents are more informed of it which is nice, and I think just trying to keep the parents involved to let them know what it looks like and what to look out for," said Jason Cary, principal of Greenfield-Central High School.
Cary said sometimes the parents have no idea their child is using these products. Officer Mullins said sometimes he finds five students in one stall vaping.
Several times school officials find out about the vaping when a student reports the activity.
"We always try to figure out where is the pressure point. Where can we apply a little pressure to help with what we are doing?" Cary said.
School officials said this is not just about punishing the students. They want to help too.
"A tobacco coalition that works with students and adults. They will do programming with them in the evening to help them kick the addiction," said Barton.