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Vaping epidemic: Shawnee district joins Juul litigation lawsuit to help protect students

Elisabeth Slay
The Shawnee News-Star

In their regular meeting Monday, June 8 the Shawnee Board of Education voted to enter the district into a mass action litigation case with Frantz Law Groups against Juul Labs, Inc.

According to Superintendent Dr. April Grace, Shawnee Public Schools is joining the lawsuit to show the community the district is doing what it needs to do to protect students from the harms of the vaping epidemic.

"This litigation seeks the monetary funds necessary to place vape detectors in all secondary campus bathrooms," Grace said. "This would avoid the district having to pay this expense out of our General Fund."

Grace said it's extremely important to join the litigation because according to news from lobbyists there is an expectation that there will be legislation requiring districts to place vape detectors in school bathrooms.

"The litigation seeks to recoup any lost funding from Average Daily Attendance from students being out of school due to vaping related suspensions and expulsions," Grace said. "In addition, the case seeks to recoup the money lost from the time wasted by teachers and administrators having to deal with vaping related incidents."

Grace said the litigation also seeks the funding for SPS to provide educational programs to students and parents on the dangers of vaping for the next decade or so.

"As a benefit to SPS, the Frantz Law Group will be providing free educational programs for students and parents on the harms of vaping," Grace said. "They have lined up the experts and doctors who will provide these programs to our district should we move forward with the mass action suit."

In addition, Grace said moving forward and entering the litigation will have no out-of-pocket cost to the district.

“We oppose Juul or any company using advertising tactics to target young people, while not adequately expressing the harmful effects of these products. We continue to focus on health, safety and well being of students and staff, and being a part of this litigation emphasizes that focus and commitment,” Grace said.