WINDHAM — A Windham High School student has been charged after a vaping incident on an RSU 14 school bus last week.
Windham Police Captain Bill Andrew said that a 16-year-old male student has since been charged with possession of a scheduled drug.
Andrew said that the student was taken into custody last Thursday and was later released to his parents that day.
Andrew said the police received the call around 2:15 p.m. on Feb. 15, and responded near the corner of Route 302 and Angler’s Road in Windham.
Windham Fire Chief Brent Libby said that a student was also transported from the bus to Maine Medical Center after Windham Rescue received a dispatch that someone was having difficulty breathing. Libby’s understanding was that the student transported to the hospital was not the same student taken into custody.
RSU Superintendent Sanford Prince acknowledged last week that there was some sort of vaping device involved in the incident. Prince thinks there has been an increase in the use of vape-like devices within the district but said the trend is “not isolated just to Windham-Raymond.”
Vaping devices come in various forms, but on a basic level can be described as electronic cigarettes that heat up various liquid substances and convert them into an inhalable vapor.
Windham High School Principal Christopher Howell sent an email to the school community on Thursday evening, providing some details about the incident and noting that he also had to protect the privacy rights of the students involved.
“Windham Rescue and Police were asked to respond this afternoon to a medical emergency on the bus. In conducting their investigation, Windham Police determined that a couple of students had violated the district’s substance use policy and that one of the students had also violated State law,” Howell said in his Feb. 15 email. “It was my fear that the absence of information in the media today would lead the community to believe that the issue today was related to weapons or school violence. I want to reassure all of you that this was not the case. The students at risk today put themselves at risk.”
Howell said that Windham High School has seen a “recent increase in the number of students who are seeking to use these devices both inside and outside of school” and noted that the school’s March newsletter will contain additional educational information about the devices.
“I would like to take the opportunity to remind all parents about the dangers that are associated with the use of electronic devices to inhale substances. These devices called: vape pens, e-cigarettes, JUULS, or dab pens can be used to vaporize flavored water, nicotine, or concentrations of THC,” Howell said in his email. “THC is the active component of marijuana. All of these devices and all of the substances that they vaporize can pose a significant risk to the students in our community.”
Andrew said the police department works closely with the school on substance use and abuse issues and that vaping is a “growing concern.”
Matt Junker can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @MattJunker.
Windham Police responded to a Feb. 15 vaping incident on an RSU 14 school bus near the intersection of Route 302 and Anglers Road. A male student was later charged with possesion of a controlled substance.