TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Officials with Tyler ISD explained their move to crack down on vaping, and how students found in violation could face felony charges.

“If you get caught with a vape, you will go to the alternative school, there’s no warnings anymore, no second chances,” said Chief of Police for Tyler ISD, Danny Brown.

Tyler ISD superintendent Marty Crawford said vaping is a growing problem, not just in East Texas, but nationwide too.

“It’s causing an issue in our schools there’s no doubt about it,” said Crawford.

In an effort to stop vaping in schools, the district said they will be installing vape detectors in bathrooms in the high school and middle school campuses.

“We’re at that flashpoint again just as we were in the 80s about the dangers of cigarettes,” said Crawford.

So far, there are more than 70 detectors in bathrooms at all four high schools.

“This technology is pretty cool,” said Crawford. “It kind of goes along with some other devices that we’ve got here and around and you know over 2,000 cameras district wide so that we can make sure we keep our campuses safe and secure.”

The device works by detecting the chemicals in the thin vape smoke and sending a silent notification to administration.

Officials said they will check cameras outside of the bathroom after a notification to see who was last there, and talk with that student.

“What you may be doing away from school is not always school appropriate,” said Crawford. “At the same time we’re willing to send a message to our kiddos that we care about your health and these things are unhealthy for you.”

The district’s goal is to stop the issue before it gets out of hand and asking parents to help too.

“Start checking your kid’s backpacks, make sure that their not bringing them and make sure their student knows there’s additional consequences this year,” said Brown.

The district said they will now be enforcing a zero tolerance policy.

“Now we’ve actually tweaked the student code of conduct,” said Crawford. “You know we have committees that look at this as well and they’re all in agreeance that this is something that we’re very serious about.”

The district says students caught with vape products on school property will get a citation and a fine up to $100.

If the vape has any THC oil, the student could be arrested with felony charges, according to officials. There will also be consequences for tampering with the new devices, and they can detect sound and can sense if you sprayed something nearby to mask the vape smoke.

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