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Mesa considers installing vape detectors in all public middle and high school bathrooms

Mesa Public Schools is considering installing vape detectors in all of its middle and high school bathrooms. District officials say they’ve already seen success with two devices that were installed at Red Mountain High School in September.

Allen Moore, the district’s director of security, said the devices look a lot like smoke detectors, but instead of sensing heat or smoke, they pick up on the chemicals that are in vapes.

“And then it sends an alert through the camera system," he said. "It simultaneously pulls up the cameras in the hallways because obviously we don’t have cameras in the bathrooms.”

That allows security personnel to see which students are coming out of the bathroom and find out who is vaping. Moore said they're trying to make school bathrooms a safe space.

“The vast majority of the kids are good kids and they’re the ones giving us feedback that they don’t like going to the bathroom because everybody’s vaping in there," Moore said. "So that’s kind of disheartening.”

Moore said they've gotten about 15 alerts per day with the devices already in use at Red Mountain. Expanding the use of the detectors could be pricey as installation ranges from $2,000 to $3,000, and the devices alone cost between $1,600 and $1,700.

Senior field correspondent Bridget Dowd has a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.