Northwestern School Corporation joined Kokomo School Corporation last week in accepting settlement money stemming from a nationwide lawsuit against electronic-cigarette manufacturer Juul.
The Northwestern School Board accepted the settlement payout, worth $30,000, on Thursday. Superintendent Kristen Bilkey said the actual amount will be closer to $20,000 after fees are taken off the top.
Money is earmarked for vaping detectors for middle and high school restrooms, according to discussion at last week’s board meeting.
“We know schools that have them, and they said it has helped to deter students, and that is the ultimate goal — to teach and deter,” Bilkey said. “They don’t really understand what decisions they’re making sometimes and how detrimental it can be.”
Western School Corporation turned to detectors last fall after a significant uptick in vaping the previous school year. The sensors paid dividends early, with high school principal Steve Edwards estimating an 80% decrease in vaping last September.
Kokomo schools has detectors in most of its middle and high school restrooms.
Juul settled its lawsuit, believed to be around $1.5 billion in total, in December. That lawsuit included thousands of plaintiffs, many of which were schools. Plaintiffs alleged the company targeted teens with its marketing.
Bilkey said Northwestern will receive its first payment in December.
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