BCPS files lawsuit against JUUL

Katey Goins, Staff Writer

Taking a stand. 

Earlier this week the board of education filed a case against the e-cigarette company, JUUL for the disruptions their products have caused within schools. 

After seeing increases over the years relating to vaping related disruptions in schools, BCPS decided to take solving the issue one step further. The underlying issue is believed to be the way the company decides to advertise their products and who their target audience is. BCPS thinks that not only should their marketing and advertising change, but that they should be the ones responsible for handling teens addictions.

All across the county, in all schools, vaping has been a growing problem. However the issue isn’t limited to only Bullitt County. This issue has been seen all across the country. “Over the past several years we have seen a tremendous increase in not only the frequency of offenses involving electronic cigarette devices but also in an increase in the number of students involved in these incidents. In talking with district leaders from across the commonwealth and all over the country this trend isn’t exclusive to Bullitt County. We just realized that we have to do something to address these exponentially growing numbers of electronic cigarette incidents that we are seeing. Our school administrators are spending an incredible amount of time dealing with these issues and our students are becoming addicted at an alarming rate,” said Jesse Bacon, superintendent.   

Specifically at Bullitt East, Principal Chris Mason said that during his time in his position he has seen major issues and disruptions increase within the last five years. 

The lawsuit wasn’t the boards first choice in handling the problem. The board has put in place programs to educate both people and the public about the dangers of these devices along with punishments when needed. “First, we have an early intervention program called Catch My Breath which is a 4-lesson curriculum designed to educate youth from 5th grade to 10th graders in the dangers of vaping related issues and illnesses.  We provide this program free of charge to our students in Bullitt County. Second, the Bullitt County Health Department is working with our staff and students in an education component in the health-related aspect of what it does to a person’s body when electronic cigarettes and vaping devices are used. The Bullitt County Health Department also has cessation programs offered for our youth as well,” said Bacon. The implemented programs aren’t limited to just those few, there is also a program called ASPIRE and trainings at PLC meetings. 

What BCPS hopes to see come out of the lawsuit is that JUUL will change the way they are marketing their products to adolescents. “What we hope to accomplish is to force these companies to change their marketing practices and require them to be directly involved in educating kids about the dangers of these products,” said Bacon.  

A lot of parent and student concerns has come from the idea that they don’t know how the district is paying for the lawsuit. Bacon has clarified by stating, “I think it is also important to point out that no district funds are being spent on this. The attorneys we are working with are bearing all of the cost. We are providing them with data and information as to the severity of the problem that e-cigarettes are causing our students and the district.”