School district to join Juul suit

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LAPEL — Frankton-Lapel Community Schools is joining other districts across the state in a national lawsuit against the company Juul, the e-cigarette manufacturer.

The board of trustees unanimously approved a resolution authorizing litigation against the company for its marketing strategy toward teens at a recent meeting.

Assistant Superintendent Sterling Boles said there were three anonymous reports of Juul being used in one of their school’s restrooms (on the day of the meeting). He added that earlier in the school year a student was transported by ambulance to a hospital after using Juul.

“It is a problem,” Boles said.

Juul and other e-cigarettes have been linked to serious health problems, such as severe lung injuries, seizures, nicotine addiction and poisoning, and an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.

The board watched a 10-minute video about the dangers of Juul, as well as its marketing strategy through social media toward middle school and high school aged youth.

Boles, prior to the approval, told the board, “It’s a no-risk to the corporation. There are no attorney fees.”

Law firms will front all expenses of litigation. If the action is not successful, no legal fees are owed.

More than 30 schools in Indiana have joined the nationwide suit, Boles said. The suit also includes school corporations from Arizona, California, Florida, Kansas, Missouri, New York, Texas and West Virginia.

The suit is seeking past and future expenses for schools dealing with use on campus, such as vape detectors in restrooms, funding of anti-vaping assemblies. They are also seeking punitive damages and financial penalties to the company.

There is anticipation that a settlement could occur in June.

South Madison School Corp. Superintendent Mark Hall said their board is not involved with the suit but have discussed the litigation.

“We’ve not joined that at this time,” Hall said.

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