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High School In Walnut Creek Disciplines Vaping Teens With Saturday School

WALNUT CREEK (CBS SF) -- An East Bay high school is trying a unique new strategy to crack down on teens vaping on campus.

Northgate High School in Walnut Creek has established Saturday "vape school" as a way to discipline teens caught vaping on campus. In an unusual twist, the students are required to bring their parents to class.

Vaping is quickly becoming a public health epidemic and the halls of high schools across the country are the front lines.

"We were looking at this flood of usage. Vaping was just rampant," said Dr. Michael G. McAlister, principal at Northgate High School.

Students say vaping is everywhere.

"Personally, I don't, but I know a lot of people that do. Out of -- there might be 500 sophomores -- probably like 200 or 250 [vape]. Probably," said Northgate sophomore Brooke Dresden.

Principal McAlister was faced with a conundrum. Would he have to suspend every offender on campus?

Instead, he started Saturday "vape school." Think of it like "The Breakfast Club" with one key mortifying twist for teenagers: instead of Molly Ringwald, their parents would be there.

At 8 a.m. Saturday morning, teens caught vaping and their parents have to report to vape school. Parents and students are separated and taken through a vaping lesson that teach the health hazards of using the devices.

"I think the parents are upset that they are there. I think the kids, they're teenagers and they tend to feign a 'too cool for vape school' type of attitude," McAlister told KPIX 5.

"I would not enjoy that very much, but you know...I don't want to be a Darth Vaper," said Northgate High dad Brett Dresden with a laugh.

This is the second year vape school has been up and running at Northgate. So far, 90 students and their parents have attended Saturday sessions.

In the two years vape school has been up and running at Northgate, 90 students and their parents have attended Saturday vape school where both learn administrators are hip to their vaping ways.

"It's very rare that you will be finding a scent of creme brûlée, for instance, without it being suspect immediately. Or you know, a pronounced scent of strawberry or bubble gum,

McAlister says vaping needs to be treated like a crisis.

"We are dealing with another wave of addicts," the principal explained.

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