• M.Grant Ft. Past TT Editor

Citadel's Vaping Crisis Pt.2

The year was 2018, and the Trollope Times was on a mission. Determined to uncover the root of Citadel’s ‘vaping crisis’, the young, ambitious news organization dove into an undercover role. We conducted an in-depth examination into all things ‘chooch’. The result of the investigation was the infamous article, some would say the epitome of highschool journalism, ‘Inside Citadel’s Vaping Crisis’. The article was well received by students; met with laughter, and stifled whispers during math class, “have you read the TT’s new article?”. However, school administration did not feel the same, and understandably so. Our article highlighted the fact that despite school admins highest efforts, the vape was a monster they could not contain. Our reporter received a ‘stern talking to’ accompanied by a lugubrious “you know better man”. Nonetheless, in our under the table discussion with Mr.Morrison, he was able to admit that everything written in the article was accurate. The Trollope Times, a diligent and hardworking paper full of very stable geniuses, was not used to getting into trouble, nor were we fans of it - however, our duty to the press and the students came first. We took to the hallways of Citadel high, in search of chooch-related news. And news we found. Despite our greatest efforts, our article was not published. Today, the Times brings to you that never-before-seen sequel: ‘Vape Article 2’.

On Thursday, March 7th, before the daily announcements, Principal Morrison took the phone to make a statement. In the following minute, he detailed the administration’s new policy towards vaping: any student caught doing it on school grounds will be fined $410 by the Halifax Police. As he handed the phone back to the secretary to tell the students their block schedule and other semi-relevant information, it was evident that the school had stepped up its efforts to crack down on vaping.

Vapes of all kinds and types exist at Citadel and the school makes no distinction between users; if you are caught using one, you will be fined. However, fines are not the only weapon in the vast arsenal of Citadel High School’s administration, they also use confiscation. Due to confiscation of vapes, many students have grumbled that their property has unjustly been taken away, yet the school has made it abundantly clear that there is a zero-tolerance for vapes at school.

Rumours began circulating around the school that a grade 11 student by the name of Zach was the first victim of this new crackdown. The word on the street was that he had been fined $500 and was threatening to fight the charge in court. We ran into Zach and he said that this was in fact not the case, and that he was only holding a vape, which is not a crime and as a result he was not fined; he was given a stern warning instead. Many thought this unjust. The Times took a poll of nearly 90 of its readers and 65% of respondents thought that the new fine was too high. Citadel's fines are even higher than the city’s, which are the toughest in the country. A first time offence for smoking in public in Halifax is a minimum of $25 to a maximum of $2000.

The Times spoke with Mr. Morrison a few times over the last week to see what the angle was. The school is not allowed to hand out fines, he admitted, but he is simply the middle man in the equation. The school keeps track of who has been caught vaping and reports it to the police, who in turn hand out fines when they get around to it. This, in effect, means that Principal Morrison or Vice Principal McDougal are the de facto dispensers of justice at the school, facilitating fines if the situation calls for it. Morrison said that has become a war on teenage addiction.

Citadel has taken numerous steps, some forward and some backwards, in its attempts to contain vaping. On Monday, March 11th, three grade ten students were all fined $410 for vaping at school, showing that the administration will back up its words with action. The question the Times asks is, will this be enough? Or is this new measure too late to have an effect on the nicotine-addicted masses?

Today, the Times has sought to answer the question that we were left with years ago. Has it been enough? This time around, we took a different approach, heading straight to the sources: Principal Mr.Morrison, and grade 12 career bathroom choocher ‘Obéar’. Shockingly, the pair's perspectives on the issue seemed to align. Mr.Morrison re-iterated to the Times that the administration has been continuing on with their same course of action. Confiscation, and an alert to the police department, who will then (most likely) issue a fine. The only difference to their tactics is the loss of Chief Vape Police and Vice Principal Mr.Andrew Macdougal - The VP left Citadel this year to pursue an opportunity at rival school Auburn Drive.

During our brief conversation with Mr. Morrison, he expressed that from the last half of the 2019/2020 school year, and thus far into this year, vaping on school grounds seems to be a non-issue. When questioned, Obéar informed the Times that though he has been a ‘Bathroom Vaper’ his entire highschool career, his grade 10 year was when he vaped most frequently (the year of our first article). When pressed for information regarding the amount of people vaping each year he replied ‘I would say that the first couple weeks of grade 11 they really started cracking down and there were definitely less people. This year I have definitely seen less people than past years.’

Though it is not unlikely to be greeted by the waft of a strawberry Puff Bar upon entering any school washroom, vapers and administration alike have agreed that it is far less common. So far this year, there have been no Citadel students put out $410 as a result of vaping. To differ from the final question in our first article on vaping, this year we do not ask ‘will this be enough’, but rather, will this seemingly resolved epidemic resurface? That is, if the looming threat of COVID-19 allows us to stay in school long enough to find out.