Winston Churchill High School in Potomac. Credit: File photo

Two Potomac high school students were taken to the hospital Wednesday after vaping on school property.

Winston Churchill High School Principal Brandice Heckert said in a letter to school families three students were caught under the influence of THC, the main active ingredient of cannabis and in illegal drug, which they ingested through a vaping device.

Two of the three students were taken to a local hospital by ambulance, Heckert said, but did not disclose why. A school system spokesman did not elaborate.

“I also want to state clearly that vaping is not tolerated at Winston Churchill High School,” Heckert wrote. “There will be consequences if students are caught vaping on school property. We take this issue seriously due to the negative health effects vaping can have on students and want to ensure that parents are aware of the risks around vaping.”

Parents are always notified if a student is caught with a vape or e-cigarette device and the devices are confiscated, Heckert said.

Other potential consequences include detention, citations from county police and in school suspension.


Churchill, on Gainsborough Road in Potomac, has an enrollment of about 2,100 students.

Vaping is the act of inhaling a vapor usually containing nicotine produced by an electronic device.

Some devices can be used to vape THC oil, which can cause a high similar to that experienced by smoking marijuana, causing vaping to be an act “that rises to a level of significance higher than traditional tobacco use,” Heckert said.


Heckert included a long list of online resources for parents to read about vaping and said she is organizing a community meeting to discuss the issue.

“While we try to proactively educate students to prevent any incidents, please note that we will issue consequences at the highest level possible for those students caught vaping … on school property,” Heckert said.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reports an “alarming increase” in vaping among high school students between 2017 and 2018, with more than 3 million youth using e-cigarettes in 2018 – a 78 percent increase from the prior year. The trend shows a “startling reversal of overall declines in youth and tobacco use from previous years,” according to the FDA.


Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at