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At Glen Cove High School, restrooms closed to combat vaping

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A parent expressed concern at the Nov. 28 Glen Cove Board of Education meeting regarding the district’s new protocol to lock the high school’s restrooms during certain times to stop students from vaping. Now students cannot enter many of the school’s bathrooms within the first 10 and final 10 minutes of each class period. However, the bathrooms near the cafeteria and in the nurse’s office are always open.

Glen Cove High School Principal Tony Santana said he has seen positive reactions from students because the restrooms have become less crowded and vape usage has significantly decreased.

“It’s a cultural shift, which is always going to be met with some resistance,” he said, “but I haven’t really observed that resistance yet, which gives me sort of the feeling that the students appreciate what we’re trying to do.”

Santana said that vaping is something that truly concerns him and regarded it as a serious problem among teenagers everywhere. “The Juul epidemic is extremely scary to me because the nicotine contained in these devices is extremely addictive,” he explained.

His goal, he said, is not to catch or punish students, but rather to help them prevent the development of dangerous habits.

“If you can’t go through a six and a half hour day without taking a hit of nicotine, that’s a problem to me,” he said.

School security upgrade, new courses

It was also reported that progress would soon be made toward making the city’s schools safer. The high school, Connolly School and Finley Middle School will have new vestibules installed by the time students return from Christmas break to enhance school security. The Deasy, Landing, and Gribbin schools are expected to have the same installations completed by Jan. 22.

Several department coordinators introduced a variety of new classes they are proposing for the 2019-20 high school curriculum. The 15 new classes will be available for enrollment when students choose their schedules for next year. If a class garners enough interest, it will become active during the following school year.

Science coordinator Alexa Doeschner introduced two new courses, social studies coordinator Sheena Jacob introduced eight, mathematics coordinator Cassie Shannon introduced four and Santana introduced one new music course.

Superintendent Dr. Maria Rianna commended Aurora Seery, a student from Finley Middle School, who spoke at a previous Board of Education meeting. Rianna was impressed by Aurora’s determination in alerting the district that an additional water fountain was needed on one of the floor in her school.

“I really give her a lot of credit,” Dr. Rianna said, “because she not only advocated for herself, she advocated for everyone in her school, and especially on her floor.” Rianna said that she met with a representative from Dellon Sales, who donated a new water fountain to Finley, thanks to Aurora’s advocacy.

The Glen Cove Board of Education will next meet on Dec. 12.