February 14, 2018

Dear Mustang Families, 

I am writing to notify you of a concerning trend in many schools, including George Mason High School. In recent months, there has been an increase in the number of GMHS students, staff, and families reporting student use of electronic cigarettes to “vape” in our community and even in school. Vaping is the act of inhaling vapor produced by a vaporizer or e-cigarette. The vapor is produced from a material such as an oil, liquid, or dry herb, which can be flavored and contain substances such as nicotine or even THC (the active chemical in marijuana). As I have spoken to other principals and read news reports like the one in USA Today and The Arlington Connection, it is clear that this trend is happening in schools throughout the region and the country, and requires our collective attention.  

Harmful Effects of E-Cigarettes and Vaping

While some students may perceive vaping as an innocent activity that is less toxic than other tobacco products, there is a growing body of evidence that vaping can harm people, especially adolescents. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) stated in a recent report, E-Cigarettes and Young People:  A Public Health Concern, that “there is already enough evidence to justify efforts to prevent e-cigarette use by young people.” Additionally, the U.S. Surgeon General warns in a website, Know the Risks: E-Cigarettes and Young People, that e-cigarettes can contain harmful ingredients that may impact the developing brain, including:

  • addictive nicotine,

  • ultra-fine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs,

  • flavorants such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to serious lung disease,

  • volatile chemicals and heavy metals, such as nickel, tin, and lead.

What Can Families Do?

Please take some time to speak with your child about electronic cigarette use, the dangers of addiction to nicotine, and the potential harm that can be caused by vaping. These devices can be difficult to detect as they often look like a small electronic devices, and the vapor may leave no scent. To see what Juuls look like, and for more information, watch the included WJLA investigation, Are Your Kids Juuling at School. For recommendations on talking to your teen about e-cigarettes, take a look at the U.S. Surgeon General’s Tip Sheet for Parents.
If you have any questions, or if you are concerned with your child or other students using e-cigarettes, drugs, alcohol or other dangerous substances whether at school or at home, please reach out to me (hillsm@fccps.org) or our Director of Counseling, Mrs. Ilana Reyes (reyesi@fccps.org).


Matt Hills and The George Mason Admin Team

                                         Click photo to play video

The Special Olympics Little Feet Meet is coming to Falls Church! Everyone in the community is welcome to volunteer, attend, and/or support this amazing event.

The Little Feet Meet is a track meet for elementary and middle school students with and without disabilities. Participants get to run, jump, hop, and sprint.  It is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for students to show off their skills for family, friends, and teachers. This event helps promote awareness, acceptance, and inclusion! 
Help support the Special Olympics by purchasing a "Little Feet Meet in The Little City" t-shirt. 
Event Date: May 30th from 9:30 a.m. -- 12:30 p.m. at the GMHS field
Order t-shirts by March 16th  at this link. Please contact Bronwen Rankin at bronwenrankin@gmail.com with questions. 
T-shirt Front and Back

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