AHWATUKEE, AZ — Nine vape pens were confiscated from students last week from a middle school in the Kyrene School District last week.
In a letter sent to parents, Akimel A-al Middle School principal Stephanie Phillips said the nine pens, some of which were bought from fellow students, were confiscated on February 1. The district says the pens, also known as e-cigarettes, were confiscated after a classmate alerted a school employee to what was going on.
"Vaping or any other form of smoking will not be tolerated on the Akimel A-al Middle School campus," Phillips wrote. "Any student caught with a vape pen or who attempted to buy or sell a vape pen will be facing discipline in accordance with District policy."
A district spokesperson said individual student discipline was confidential, but said punishment for that type of offense ranges from in-school suspension to a weeklong out-of-school suspension.
Districts across the Valley are stepping up efforts to inform parents and students about the dangers of teen vaping. A report published in December that surveyed 8th, 10th and 12th graders at 245 Arizona schools found nearly 20% said they had vaped in the previous month.
Last month the Dysart School District in Surprise held an informational meeting about the devices, which heat liquid nicotine into a gas that is then inhaled.
The Kyrene School District says a similar meeting is being planned at Akimel A-al, though details have not been finalized.