Decatur High School addresses vaping addictions in student assembly


During the first two months of school at Decatur High School (DHS), many events have occurred: one, in particular, being the vaping assembly led by a non-profit organization called Pathways to Life. The assembly was created to bring awareness to the dangers of vaping when used for an excessive amount of time.

“Our school wants to let students know that they are not alone, and what they’re doing is not wrong,” Lowe said.

Each grade at DHS was scheduled to attend the assembly during the advisement periods. The presentation addressed the cause and effect of addiction through personal stories told by Pathways to Life members.

According to DHS addiction specialist Fonta Lowe, there is no specific reason as to why DHS has decided to implement this new assembly.

“I do believe that the administration is aware that kids are using substances and they want to curtail the problem,” Lowe said.

The assembly was designed to encourage students who use illegal substances to understand the lasting impacts of their choices and provide alternate options for coping.

DHS is doing more than just an assembly to ensure they do their best to reach out to substance abusers. Lowe started a club called Jumpstart Recovery, which is made for kids who want to share their substance use experiences. Students also have the option of one-on-one counseling.

“Substance abuse is a problem, but not just particular to DHS,” Lowe said. “I think it’s happening with a lot of students because many are at this exploratory stage in their life.”

While the school is experimenting with different ways to address substance abuse, some students feel it’s just not enough. Sophomore Lolly Sayers thinks that the vaping assembly wasn’t useful.

“Pretty much everyone was just laughing and taking the whole thing as a joke. I don’t think any of us really care,” Sayers said.

Another student, Gabby Adams, thinks the assembly was a good idea but could have been executed more efficiently.

“[The assembly] would have been beneficial for us if the information was delivered from someone who we can relate to more,” Adams said, “like a teenager or a college student who is a recovering addict.”

The sophomore, junior and senior assemblies passed without incident, but at the freshman assemblies, presenters were met with some pushback from the students.

Around the same time, the Decatur Parent Network held talks about student substance abuse. You can read about that here.