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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Spokane Public Schools to discuss safety improvements, including vape-sensing technology in bathrooms

June 7, 2022 Updated Tue., June 7, 2022 at 8:48 p.m.

The Spokane Public Schools district office at Main Avenue and Bernard Street is seen Sept. 24, 2019.  (JESSE TINSLEY/The Spokesman-Review)
The Spokane Public Schools district office at Main Avenue and Bernard Street is seen Sept. 24, 2019. (JESSE TINSLEY/The Spokesman-Review)

Spokane Public Schools officials will share the district’s progress and plans to address safety concerns during a board meeting Wednesday night.

Topics will cover improved camera surveillance, training for staff and students, and plans to install vapor-sensing products in the bathrooms in the district’s secondary schools.

“I think it’s one of our major challenges right now,” said Shawn Jordan, chief operations manager for the district.

According to national surveys, teen vaping fell during the pandemic.

Still, vaping in bathrooms has forced some students to avoid those areas.

“We are still in the middle of trying to respond to that, and eliminate it from our day-to-day challenges,” Jordan said. “We want to support students who may have that addiction, and as a way to support staff.”

The district is currently evaluating different vapor-detection devices, with an eye toward installation this summer.

“It’s just one more tool,” Jordan said.

Using about $4 million from the 2018 capital bond, the district also plans to update camera systems, starting at the secondary level, Jordan said. The district plans to connect all cameras to a network.

Jordan said the district is working to build a consistent presence of unarmed campus safety specialists, especially at the secondary level. The plan is for each high school to have two or three specialists, while middle schools will have one, or share one with another school.

At the elementary level, four schools will share one specialist, Jordan said.

“That was an identified need,” Jordan said. “That’s one of our strategies for maintaining a safe campus, but obviously, safety is the responsibility of everyone.”

To that end, the district also hopes to develop additional lockdown training for specific staff, especially those located in portable buildings at some schools.

The district also is exploring the possibility of installing advanced intruder alert technology, Jordan said.

No action is planned at Wednesday’s meeting

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