SPARTA, NJ – The board of education is looking at technology to combat vaping in the schools. Superintendent Michael Rossi said he had participated in a webinar about Halo, a device that can be installed in places where there cannot be cameras such as bathrooms and locker rooms.
At the June board of education meeting, Rossi said it is an advanced version of a smoke detector capable of determining what substances are in the smoke including e-cigarette chemicals, tar and THC; components in cigarette and marijuana smoke.
Halo could be tied into the security system’s cameras.
He said it also has the capability of hearing or detecting certain trigger words, such as those that are hurtful or threatening. Once the words are heard it would immediately activate the security cameras in the immediate area to record people leaving the bathroom or locker room.
Board of education member Michael McGovern said, “I am not comfortable with listening technology.”
Rossi said the devices “have the capability but we don’t have to use it.”
Only seven or eight districts in the country have this technology with only one other in New Jersey, in Delran, according to Rossi.The district will have a couple of the Halo devices to try over the summer to decide if it is a technology the district wants to add according to Rossi.
A similar technology has been developed by Soter. According to the Soter website their device called Fly Space is being used in Camden and Burlington County schools in New Jersey. The devices cost approximately $1000 with an additional maintenance fee. Dummy devices are also available at a lower cost, because “deterrence is the goal.”