Two teachers and three students from an Indiana high school have been hospitalized with suspected vaping-related illnesses.
Michael Gasaway, principal of Madison Consolidated High School (MCHS), said the teachers fell ill while monitoring an area in the school’s C-wing. They were taken to hospital as an apparently precautionary measure along with three other students who also displayed minor symptoms.
A vaping device was later discovered in a classroom close to where the illnesses occurred and an unnamed student is reportedly being disciplined by the school.
It’s not the first time MCHS has had a problem with e-cigarettes. Over a five-day stretch earlier this month, nine other students were taken to hospital with alleged vaping illnesses.
“In some cases, the students who were transported were treated because they were not breathing, their hearts had stopped beating,” said Resource Officer Tim Armstrong last week. “This is a very dangerous, potentially deadly situation”.
That incident prompted a police investigation into the vaping devices and identified three chemicals potentially responsible for the hospitalizations. Further tests are currently underway at the Indiana State Department of Toxicology.
The Department of Homeland Security performed an air quality test after Tuesday’s hospitalizations, but Gasaway stated the results did not show anything of concern.
“We are not putting our heads in the sand”, he told MCHS students in a letter. “We will continue to diligently investigate this matter and are committed to keeping this campus safe”. He pledged to “continue to battle” what he called “this ongoing, nationwide vaping epidemic”.
The news comes despite a $2 million anti-vaping campaign launched by the Indiana State Department last November. “Behind the Haze” is designed to curb the use of e-cigarettes by students and the program is targeting 32,000 students across 52 schools,
As of Feb. 4, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that vaping-related lung injury has hospitalized a total of 2,758 people nationally and resulted in the deaths of 64.