JEFFERSON COUNTY, Mo. — The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department is working to combat vaping in schools, but it’s not just nicotine vaping. In some cases, it’s marijuana vaping.

Authorities said they are seeing more and more cases of vaping on school grounds. It’s a growing problem not just in the Fox C-6 School District but across the country.

School resource officers and drug-sniffing dogs searched two hallways at Seckman High School Thursday morning, looking for any narcotics that students may have brought on campus. FOX 2’s Bommarito Automotive Group SkyFOX helicopter flew over the scene.

Authorities said there have always been locker searches at the school, but this school year is different.

“The difference is we haven’t done this in a couple of years, especially since COVID started,” said Grant Bissell, the public information safety coordinator for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department.

This is also the first time a school resource officer has gone through backpacks looking for vaping devices.

“What we’ve been seeing more and more lately is these vaping devices that have THC. So essentially, the drug that’s in marijuana has become more and more prevalent,” said Bissell. “In fact, he told me today that this school year he has located more of those devices than any school year previous.”

The department is working closely with the Fox C-6 School District to combat the problem and wants to warn students to just say no.

“They’re coming from someplace to Missouri, and there’s always that possibility that there could be illegal and dangerous drugs in these things,” said Bissell.

The district released the following statement:

The health and safety of students is our top priority in Fox C-6. As part of an ongoing effort to keep students safe, on April 14, one of our high schools, Seckman High, conducted a routine, previously scheduled drug dog search in part of the school building.

This routine search was conducted in partnership with the Jefferson County Sherriff’s Department. Students found to be in possession of items that violate the District’s discipline policy are subject to discipline in accordance with said policy.

Fox C-6 is aware of an increase in the use of vape pens and similar devices across the country, and our schools are not immune to this trend. While there is still a lot for us and our community to learn, we can give some advice to all students and families.

Avoid ingesting any items that you are not absolutely sure what they contain, especially vape pens and similar devices. It is not safe to use these types of devices, even if they are marketed as drug-free. The health and safety of students remain our top priority in Fox C-6.