Sensors Help Green Dot California Schools Win the War on Vaping

Green Dot installed HALO IoT Smart Sensors in the restrooms of 11 of its campuses to detect student vaping.

Sensors Help Green Dot California Schools Win the War on Vaping

The Green Dot School District has successfully grown to serve 13,000 students within 11 high schools and seven middle schools across Los Angeles. Image courtesy IPVideo Corp.

From coast to coast, vaping at schools has become a serious epidemic in our country. With many schools doing their best to create their own solution to the problem, some are rising above by doing their due diligence and researching the various vape detection systems on the market to solve this epidemic once and for all.

When Green Dot Public Schools’ California campuses started experiencing a high rate of vaping in their middle schools and high schools, administrators knew it was time to find the right vaping detection solution. Green Dot California Schools was founded in 1999 with a mission to transform public education for students in Los Angeles neighborhoods that had been historically under-served. The vision was to create small, successful public schools that provided students with outstanding educational opportunities. Green Dot’s belief that public schools can do better educating students has now transcended into doing better fighting the war against vaping.

Their first high school opened with just one ninth grade class of 140 students. Today, the Green Dot School District has successfully grown to serve 13,000 students within 11 high schools and seven middle schools across Los Angeles. Each school has on average between 400-700 students, and the district has 1,100 staff members. Over the years, Green Dot schools have been honored with Gold Ribbon Awards by the California State Board of Education and Academic Growth Awards by California’s CORE districts. As a testament to their success, Green Dot’s Locke High School was named Charter School of the Year in California in 2019.

However, with their growth also came its set of challenges, which included vaping. The goal of any campus-style setting is to create a safe and secure environment for students to learn and have a high-quality education. Having a simple, easy-to-use way to monitor school grounds is essential to give parents, faculty, staff, and students peace of mind. Green Dot puts a high priority on the safety and security of its students but found it very hard to control the vaping epidemic at their middle and high schools.

“We wanted to deter students from engaging in behavior that is bad for their health,” said Kaleem Ansari, coordinator of security at Green Dot Public Schools. “We knew that the only way to accomplish this was by finding a multi-purpose security solution that could be used in areas not covered by traditional surveillance cameras due to privacy concerns, like bathrooms.”

After researching various vape detection sensors, one clearly stood out from the crowd. The school quickly made the decision to move forward and implement IPVideo Corporation’s HALO IoT Smart Sensor.

“We really liked the versatility of the sensor and all the different applications in addition to vape detection, especially air quality monitoring, gunshot detection, and its masking capabilities,” said Ansari.

Teamwork Proves Successful in the Battle Against Vaping

For schools, having the right team in place to fight the vaping epidemic is critical. It takes collaboration with experienced security and safety experts to make an action plan work. Green Dot California Schools was lucky enough to find this with IPVideo Corporation and ICU Technologies, who joined forces to help the district successfully stop the vaping epidemic on its campuses.

IPVideo Corporation’s solutions utilize video, audio, and sensor technology to mitigate false positives, confirm incidents, accelerate response times, and deliver long-term actionable intelligence. ICU Technologies specializes in installing video surveillance and access control systems, emergency response systems, weapons detection solutions, personal duress platforms, IP speaker systems, and anonymous tipping platforms in California schools.

For Green Dot, it all started back in the spring of 2022 when a walk-through of the campuses was conducted by ICU to determine the best course of action. Jason Eatmon, chief experience officer at ICU Technologies determined that the HALO IoT Smart Sensor would be the most effective way to address vaping.

The project consisted of 56 HALO sensors being installed in restrooms at 11 of Green Dot’s 18 California campuses. ICU managed the entire installation from beginning to end, which included working with a cabling company to deploy the sensors in the bathrooms. After the installation, ICU worked closely with the school’s security and IT teams to configure all sensors and provide training to administrators and staff members.

“What made this project a huge success was the effective communication from all parties involved,” said Eatmon.

HALO Creates Bright Future for Green Dot Schools

One of the main reasons why the school district selected HALO was Green Dot’s ability to utilize HALO for other applications in the future. Currently, Green Dot Public Schools is only using sensors to detect vaping. However, the next step will be turning on additional functions, such as integrating the sensors with their current camera system and using other applications. This includes spoken keyword, gunshot detection, and aggression (decibel detection). HALO also offers three ways to detect tampering and alerts administrators immediately if a student is trying to tamper with the device.

Green Dot administrators are thrilled with the performance of the HALO IoT Smart Sensors, as well as IPVideo Corporation and ICU.

“IPVideo Corporation and ICU Technologies made the vape sensor project a seamless collaboration,” said Ansari. “Our schools are now equipped to effectively manage vape detection and decrease the amount of vape incidents. Both IPVideo and ICU are not just vendors to us as we feel we are a part of their team. We can reach out to them at any given time for general assistance with our vape system and never have to worry.”

Since the vape detection system went live in the summer of 2022, the school district has received numerous alerts when a student is vaping on campus. These alerts enable Green Dot to implement corrective action.

Immediate plans at the school include installing eight more HALO sensors in the high school bathrooms. The battle against vaping in our country is ongoing. Green Dot Public Schools should serve as a role model to other K-12 campuses and school districts on how to be proactive in solving the problem with the right technology and vendor support.

Monique Merhige is president of Infusion Direct Marketing, Inc.

Note: The views expressed by guest bloggers and contributors are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, Campus Safety.

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