QUAKERTOWN, Pa. (CBS) — A local superintendent gets blunt when it comes to vaping and admits kids have been found passed out in the bathroom. The Quakertown school district is resorting to unprecedented action to combat this crisis by heading to court.
In the past year, two Quakertown Community High School students were rushed to the hospital after smoking the very same product.
“Came out and passed out and was unconscious. We had to call EMS,” Quakertown Community School District Superintendent William Harner said. “In our school district and across the country, it’s a huge issue.”
The superintendent at the school district in Quakertown is trying to fix this problem, doing something no other school district has ever done before.
Harner and the school board recently authorized a lawsuit against e-cigarette and vape product manufacturers.
“I expect it to be filed next week,” Harner said. “I believe, and my board believes, that our young people are being targeted.”
Harner cites data self-reported by students in the district that shows 53% of 12th-graders reporting vaping with a nicotine product in 2017, up from 28% two years earlier.
For the same age group, those admitting to vaping with marijuana or hash oil increased more than fivefold, from just 7% in 2015 to nearly 41% in 2017.
Harner says both emergencies involved students vaping with THC-laced oils.
“People going to bathrooms all the time and vape and it was even prevalent in classrooms too while teachers were teaching,” one graduate said. “You’d see it all the time.”
The students graduated from nearby high schools and think the district’s lawsuit could make a difference.
“It’s honestly disgusting how prevalent it is,” another recent graduate said.
So do many parents, who say the lawsuit could change how manufacturers advertise their products.
“As a parent, I do see how they are marketing toward children,” one parent said.
“It’s a scourge on our youngest generation,” Harner said.
The superintendent expects other school districts to sign the lawsuit as well.
Any money from the suit would compensate the district and any students for any damages due to e-cigarettes or vaping.