Revere board mulls options to stop vaping in schools

by Sheldon Ocker

Feb. 14 work session

When 14 vape detectors were activated at Revere High School and two more were installed at Revere Middle School in September 2019, then-Superintendent Matt Montgomery thought the district had gotten a handle on student vaping.

More than three years later, current Superintendent Michael Tefs reported to the Revere board of education that vape detectors have failed to solve the problem.

“We know that vaping is a big concern, especially in the high school,’’ he said.

Even three years ago, Revere administrators knew that some students would find a way to elude the vape detectors, but the devices had other shortcomings, as well.

“It’s amazing what makes them go off,’’ Tefs said. “The vape detectors have not been successful.’’

Tefs and now the board is seeking another solution.

“The best conversation I had was with the Lantern [school newspaper],’’ he said. “What’s happening is that our students are starting to talk about how some students feel uncomfortable when they walk into a space, a restroom, and think vaping is going on.

“It’s amazing the peer conversations that are going on and the power of those conversations versus what adults can do.’’

That doesn’t mean the district will rely on its students to eliminate vaping.

“It is a problem, and I don’t know if we have a solution,’’ the superintendent said.

Board member Diana Sabitsch said the administration could not afford to be apathetic about kids vaping in school.

“I don’t care who gets upset or who we make angry,’’ she said. “It’s got to stop. We can’t show that we’re accepting of this, that we approve of it.’’

She suggested a guard outside each bathroom or even closing certain restrooms.

Board member Mike Kahoe said that even though vape detectors have not succeeded, the administration should look into other kinds of technology.

Third grade readers

Assistant Superintendent Micki Krantz and Curriculum Coordinator Marcia Roach informed the board that 77% of Bath Elementary third-graders passed the state reading test during fall semester. Last spring Bath had a 44% success rate.

Krantz and Roach attributed the improvement in part to allowing third-graders to take the test with pencil and paper rather than on a laptop.

The state allows only third-graders to take the exam with pencil and paper. All higher grades must perform on a computer.

“It is much more appropriate with paper and pencil at that age,’’ Roach said, adding that it gave the students a sense of “calm.’’

Branding options

Director of Human Resources and Communications Karen Arbogast raised the idea of branding with the board.

Until now, individual school buildings and organizations have used a patchwork of logos and insignias rather than the red Revere “R’’ or the longstanding face of a Revolutionary patriot exclusively.

Arbogast prepared an extensive sampling of logos for the board to examine. The board will decide whether to endorse a particular set of logos and make them mandatory for all school organizations and teams.

Sabitsch said this issue dates to 2019.
“There was a concern that every building in the district had a different person, picture or animal,’’ she said. “We felt at some point this is Revere, the Revere School District, and we should have some consistency in what we are presenting out there, whether it’s on a shirt, a cap, or whatever it might be.’’

Board member Hayden Hajdu endorsed the concept of enforced uniformity.

“If we have brand guide that we approve, I’m all for it,’’ he said. ‘’If that’s the standard, I think every team should use that standard.’’

Board member Claudia Hower suggested that the school nickname, “Minutemen’’ was not female friendly but added there was no easy solution for an issue that is more prevalent now than ever.

Kahoe disagreed, saying, “To change the name Minutemen would be catering to a very small portion of the population.’’

   Senate Bill 288

Tefs told the board that Ohio recently passed Senate Bill 288 that mandates school districts teach courses on child sexual abuse and sexual violence prevention. In addition, districts must inform parents of these classes and allow them to opt out.

Classes beginning in the fall will be given in K-12, but emphasis and content will differ, depending on the grade level.

According to Tefs, organizations that provide instructional assistance cannot support abortion.


Arbogast passed out the draft of a multi-color newsletter on slick paper that will be mailed to the Revere community in early or mid-March.

She said that parents with kids in school have access to the accomplishments and current events that make up the contents of the mailer, but the remaining 70% of residents should have the opportunity to be equally well informed.

Arbogast said the first edition of the newsletter will be mailed to 7,920 locations and cost the district $3,500 for printing and postage. ∞