SEBRING — The Brevard and Palm Beach County school districts have joined other U.S. school districts in a national lawsuit against the Juul electronic cigarette company.
The suit, filed in federal court, alleges that Juul threatens the health of students and that the district’s resources are being depleted by dealing with the resulting health problems and in enforcing district rules against its use in schools.
School Board of Highlands County Attorney John McClure said he and the Board are aware of the vaping lawsuits. The larger school districts typically spearhead these sorts of things.
“To my knowledge the district has suffered no damages nor had any student in the district suffered any actual damages,” he said.
There could be a potential recovery from the lawsuit that the District can share in, but typically the amount Highlands receives is very, very small because the other districts have many more students.
School Board Chair Donna Howerton said the School Board of Highlands County is not considering the matter without more information.
The Highlands School Board Members will be attending the state conference of the Florida School Boards Association in early December where more information will be provided by the director of the association to the member districts, she said.
After the conference the matter may be considered by the School Board or the Board may elect to not take the matter up.
Brevard School Board members voted 4-1 to join a class action suit against Juul Labs, Inc., stating in a resolution student use of Juul e-cigarettes has caused “a substantial and ongoing interruption ... to its educational mission” and “the diversion of substantial resources” to combat vaping on Brevard campuses, according to WKMG News 6 report .
The move will not cost the school district anything up front and all fees will be paid out of any potential judgement or settlement, according to a legal services agreement signed by the board.
According to the lawsuits, e-cigarette users are at increased risk of strokes and heart attacks, while nicotine exposure during adolescence is associated with deficits in memory, attention, auditory processing, increased impulsivity, anxiety and increased prospects of addiction to other drugs.