Review: The Halo Smart Sensor 2C Snuffs Out Vaping in K–12

This article originally appeared on EdTech Magazine. To view the original article, click here

With 14.5 percent of high schoolers and 3.3 percent of middle schoolers using e-cigarettes, according to the 2022 National Youth Tobacco Survey, vaping among teenagers has become an epidemic. And while the health concerns are troubling, the wider safety and security implications for K–12 schools and districts are often not discussed.

At Newark Central School District in New York, student vaping led to an increase in physical altercations and property damage. Installing several HALO Smart Sensor 2C environmental sensors across the district drastically reduced incidents of vaping and resulted in fewer students loitering in areas where the sensors were installed.

How HALO Smart Sensors Can Reduce Vaping in Schools

Before vaping detectors were available, administrators had to catch students in the act or rely on firsthand accounts from others to address vaping in schools. With HALO Smart Sensor 2C, school officials now receive real-time alerts when a sensor is triggered, increasing the odds of intercepting students hurriedly leaving the vaping location.

Taking it a step further, by integrating the sensors with existing security systems, schools can take a more comprehensive approach. For example, when a HALO Smart Sensor 2C senses THC (the active compound in marijuana) in a restroom, it sends a text message to security team members, who then move toward the location. Meanwhile, security cameras closest to the sensor can be programmed to preserve video beginning two minutes before the sensor is triggered and continuing until five minutes after, allowing the school to identify all individuals entering or exiting the restroom at that time.

As school districts work to reduce student vaping, sensors also offer data and analytics to help administrators identify problem areas and adjust accordingly.

HALO’s Smart Sensor Helps Stop Bullies in Their Tracks

The HALO Smart Sensor 2C is referred to as a vape detector, but it is capable of so much more. It also monitors air quality and health index data and offers alerts for carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide levels.

Schools can also use the sensor as an anti-bullying tool by programing the device to monitor for certain spoken words, aggressive behavior, device tampering and gunshots.

SPECIFICATIONS

DEVICE TYPE: Ceiling- or wall-mounted air quality sensor
CONNECTIVITY: Wired
DATA LINK PROTOCOLS: 100 Gigabit Ethernet
TEMPERATURE RANGES: 122- through 32-degree F
DIMENSIONS: 3.1×5.7×5.7 inches

HALO Smart Sensor’s Cloud Software Provides Insights and Access

For organizations planning to use the Smart Sensor 2C independent of their existing security infrastructure, HALO offers cloud-based software that gives users access to its desktop and mobile applications, posts sensor data and analytics to a single page and provides email, text and app notifications.

The HALO Smart Sensor 2C is a strong addition to a school’s physical security infrastructure and is capable of reducing vaping incidents and making hard-to-monitor spaces a safer place for students.

TRY THESE BEST PRACTICES TO ENSURE YOUR HALO SENSOR PERFORMS WITHOUT HICCUPS

For IT and facilities departments tasked with preserving and maximizing sensor effectiveness, it is vital to understand that these devices require ongoing maintenance and adjustment.

The HALO Smart Sensor 2C is not a set-it-and-forget-it device; among its many customizable features, it offers anti-tampering and up to 20 detection settings. Before you make a substantial financial investment in sensors, understand what corresponding network and installation costs are required to power and support them.

You may have to install the sensors in areas with lower ceilings or in spots that are not monitored by security cameras. This makes tampering and breakage a concern, especially given the sensor’s small, lightweight profile. Yes, these sensors may be set to alert when tampering occurs, but it is difficult to envision a response time that’s fast enough to keep devices from being damaged if an individual is determined.

With this in mind, it’s understandable that school districts would want to place their HALO sensors in discreet locations where they are hidden, not seen or heard, but I recommend the opposite approach. These sensors can be set for audible alerting, and multiple districts in our region reported a drastic reduction in vaping incidents after audible alerts began. This may result in additional reports of tampering, including physical damage and disconnecting the sensor from its Power over Ethernet cable, but the rewards outweigh risk.