JUPITER, Fla. — A major policy change is happening at a Florida high school because of vaping concerns.
On Thursday, the principal of Jupiter High School announced that students can no longer use restrooms during class unless there's an emergency and they're escorted by an assistant principal.
The issue is sparking a debate among parents.
Less than three months into the new school year, Colleen Iannitti, the school's principal, said she now believes she has what it takes to stop students from vaping on campus.
"It is a huge problem," Iannitti said in a video released Thursday to students, staff and parents. "Every single day since school started, we have found a student or multiple students in our bathrooms who have been vaping."
Because of that, Iannitti is taking what some parents call drastic measures to crack down on a growing trend on campus.
"That is the reason why we are asking teachers not to let you out of class like they normally would," Iannitti said.
Under the new rule at Jupiter High School, students are no longer allowed to ask for a hall pass to use the bathroom during class. Instead, they’re only allowed to go to the bathroom in the six minutes between classes or if the teacher contacts an assistant principal to take them to the bathroom — and that’s only if it’s an emergency.
"I understand the concern from the school’s point of view, I just don’t know if it’s the most efficient or effective privacy matter as far as having someone follow you around when you use the restroom," said parent Jeff Glassgold.
In the three-minute video played on TVs throughout campus Thursday, Iannitti said the changes are for the health and safety of all students.
"On a weekly basis, we have someone that leaves in an ambulance, going to the emergency room for something that they smoked in one of our bathrooms," Iannitti said. "I’m going to ask you to follow those rules for the next few weeks and see if we can get students to stop vaping in our bathroom."
Palm Beach County Fire Rescue told WPTV they've responded to 10 calls at Jupiter High School for a variety of incidents, and eight people have been taken to the hospital.