Mythbusters: The Rumors on RDTs and Vape Detectors

Mr. Newman
Mr. Drew

With the introduction of vape detector and random drug tests in Bolles there have been some circulating rumors. With the help of Mike Drew, the Associate Head of School, and John Newman, the Dean of Students, the top rumors have been asked and answered. In this article you can learn the truth about the changes.

Myth #1: There are cameras in the mirrors and microphones in the detectors
Myth #2: Detectors are not in every bathroom
Myth #3: The DNA is saved after the RDTs
Myth #4: Students are pat down if they are caught
Myth #5: Poppy seed bagels will test positive for the RDTs
Myth #6: The drug test is not actually random
Myth #7: You get searched if the detectors go off

Fact #1: It would be illegal to put cameras in a bathroom and is completely unethical. There are cameras around campus that record different aspects of the campus, including in Bent, but none are inside bathrooms. There are noise detectors that pick up on loud sounds, as the vape detectors also work as bully and harrassment detectors. But there are not microphones that would record and allow people to listen to conversations.
Fact #2: Detectors aren’t in every bathroom at this point, just a few. Bolles is are looking at increasing the number of areas that have them and not just necessarily in bathrooms. They are going to be put in the places that the school thinks would be the best deterrent for students making those bad choices on campus.
Fact #3: There would be no reason to do this, and it’s just a saliva-based test so it is discarded afterwards. Analyzing and keeping DNA is a very complicated biological process that Bolles isn’t interested in. Instead they are just looking for any of the drugs, in the 15-panel drug show up, in someone’s system. There is not any interest in DNA.
Fact #4:  If a “vaping” alert is recieved, students are not searched “on the spot,” instead Bolles makes every effort to meet privately.  Students don’t get frisked or pat down, but clothing and backpacks can be searched.  In many cases, it’s these searches that help to confirm the student was not responsible for setting off the sensor and the Deans can get them back to class as quickly as possible.
Fact #5: While neither Mr. Drew nor Mr. Newman are experts, their understanding is if you wanted to test positive for opium through poppy seeds, you would have to eat more poppy seeds than probably anybody would want to eat. Somewhere around a sack full of poppy seeds in order for it to show.

Fact #6: Bolles will be randomly selecting 20-25% of the body, absolutely, but there are also students who will be in a suspicion-based protocol. So, if they have ever violated the policy or they have randomly tested positive in the past, they will be put in a nonrandom testing protocol. Students who are placed in the nonrandom testing protocol should be prepared to be tested more frequently. However, it doesn’t mean they will be tested each time a group participates in the program. Students put on the suspicion-based list will remain in the nonrandom testing protocol for the duration of their time at Bolles.
Fact #7: There have already been situations where the detectors have gone off. In these cases the Deans have followed Bolles’ normal    procedure for if there is suspicion of somebody doing something against school policy. The school always has the right, based on the student parent handbook, to search students.  It can be any possession, backpacks, lockers, cars, electronic   devices, everything is in the school’s right to look at. 

Newman’s Note: 
“The Deans’ Office does our best to see every student who is in the designated area when we receive an alert. Even if we aren’t in the vicinity at the time, we have the ability to go back and review the cameras to identify students we need to see.
It’s also important to differentiate between the types of alerts that the sensors provide. In addition to detecting vaping chemicals in the air, the sensors can also alert us to excessive noise and when someone is tampering with them.”

Other Facts to Know:
What other testing was considered before the saliva-based test?
There are many different ways you can test for drugs. Urine is a very common one, you can also use blood or hair. Bolles opted to go with the saliva-based test based on the work with those at Episcopal and Bishop Kenny. The teams that each school put together all agreed that a saliva-based test was the best way to go.
What if you test positive, but for a different reason such as medication?
If you are taking a medication through a prescription and you test positive, you just need to show proof you were given that prescription by a doctor and you will be cleared of suspicion.
What happens if you are searched because of the detectors and miss part of a class or test?
While the Deans try to avoid it, there are times when they have meet students during their academic classes. In those cases, the absence is excused, and the teacher is notified that the student was with the Deans. If the student misses a major assignment, test, etc., they would be able to make it up without a penalty.
What happens if the detectors go off on accident while you are in the room?
There is no accidental going off. The best thing to do is that if you are in the room where students are doing something they’re not supposed to be doing that violates school policy, you should remove yourself from that situation as quickly as possible. Then you can avoid any confusion of what you were doing in the room.