CVU file photo

In early November, several CVU students were involved in a drug deal in Shelburne that turned into a robbery and injured one student.

When asked recently about what the school did in response to the incident and the resulting criminal charges, Principal Adam Bunting, said, “CVU enjoys productive relationships with our community partners: local first responders, police, fire, Williston Restorative Justice Center, our families and more. Thanks to those relationships, we were made aware of the situation hours after it occurred and took steps to ensure that our students were, and would continue to be, safe inside and outside of school. It’s important that our students recognize that they live in a larger community—that their lives in our building and beyond that building are inextricably linked together.”

Bunting and his leadership team also called a school-wide assembly “to clarify our expectations and more clearly define the policies that drive our procedures. We discussed the harassment, weapons and substance use policies. In particular, we focused on recent trends in vaping and Juuling. Many students were unaware that vapes and Juuls are considered drug paraphernalia in our policies. Thus distributing vapes or Juuls to classmates would result in the recommendation of an expulsion—even if those vapes or Juuls were intended to be used for nicotine or for vape tricks (imagine blowing “smoke” rings using a non-nicotine based cartridge).”

Juuling has been recent problem. Juules are e-cigarette devices that contain nicotine, and they are illegal for minors under 18. The rules about Juuling at CVU are fairly new. Other high schools around the U. have also been having problems with this. Bunting has had discussions with other principals around Vermont and found they were also struggling with an increase in vaping and Juuling at school. Many high school students think it is safe, though no long-term safety data on e-cigarettes has yet been collected. (The Boston Globe recently reported on the increasingly widespread use of Juuls and e-cigarettes in high schools. Go to the Globe website for the story.)

Some CVU students also talked about what the school has been doing. When asked about drug-related regulations, one student stated, “Usually the regulations are student regulated, but I think the regulations need to be changed. Some of the teachers are trying to be more vigilant. The counselors will remind the students about getting in trouble if they are caught.”

Another student reflected on her thoughts about this problem, saying, “Obviously it’s best if you don’t do drugs, but instead of only telling people not to do it, you also can show people how to do it in a certain way and be safer.”

Robin Lauzon, the Fairbanks House Director at CVU, also talked about the school’s response to the drug deal involving students. She explained, “Our concern is really around safety. For us it’s been about student safety and making sure students are safe.”