Sioux Falls School District hosts vaping town hall meeting

Published: Sep. 30, 2019 at 2:31 PM CDT
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With the rise of vape-related illnesses and deaths across the country the Sioux Falls School District is hosting a vaping town hall meeting. An Avera pulmonologist and Washington High School's Principal will be speaking on the dangers of vaping.

With new numbers coming in every week from the CDC for vaping-related illnesses we learn more that the youth in the country are at risk.

Sixteen percent of patients are under the age of 18 years old and that's why the Sioux Falls School District is hosting that town hall meeting Monday night.

The hot button issue of vaping is on a lot of people's minds these days. As of right now, there are 805 lung injury cases reported from 46 states. There are 12 deaths that have been confirmed in 10 states.

"It’s scary. It's scary to hear those numbers and to know that those people who have been sick are really sick. We don't want that and we know a healthy student or child is able to learn better," Health Services Coordinator, Molly Satter said.

The state of South Dakota currently has six cases of vaping-related illnesses according to the Department of Health. That's why school officials want to put a stop to this before it gets out of hand.

"Really that's concerning for us as we continue to see an increase in the number of students who are vaping. We just want to take an approach that brings the parent, the student and the school together," Satter said.

Satter says that school officials hear about student’s vaping frequently.

"Anecdotally we hear about students talking about their friends doing it and many of them doing it. We have students who have been found doing it in the schools," Satter said.

Right now the CDC says there are still some unanswered questions. They don't know the specific chemical exposure causing lung injuries. School officials say they want their students to know if caught there will be consequences, but they want them to come forward before it escalates to that.

"There a difference between being caught doing that or coming forward and asking for help. There wouldn't be any discipline imposed on anyone who's just reaching out for help and so we want to make sure students feel comfortable and know that," Satter said.

A question and answer session will be open to parents and students to learn more about the vaping epidemic after the town hall meeting. The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Instructional Planning Center in Sioux Falls.