Canyons District Joins Nationwide Lawsuit Against Vape Maker Juul Labs

Canyons School District is joining a mass-action federal lawsuit against Juul Labs, alleging the e-cigarette maker has downplayed the health risks of its products in marketing campaigns to minors, which has led to an increase in vaping on school campuses. 

About 500 school districts across the country, including Tooele, Provo, Ogden, Jordan, Salt Lake, Washington, South Sanpete, and now Canyons, have become a part of the suit, according to Joel Wright with Kirton McConkie, the law firm representing Utah’s school districts. The suit has been filed in U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California where Juul is headquartered. The trial is scheduled to begin in March. 

Since their introduction to the U.S. market in 2006, electronic cigarettes, or vaping devices, with their colorful designs and sweet flavors named after popular desserts, candy, and fruit, have grown increasingly popular, especially among teenagers and young adults. The Utah Department of Health estimates that nearly 25 percent of Utah students in eighth, 10th, and 12th grades have tried vaping. 

In Canyons District in 2019, there were 219 school office referrals for e-cigarette use or possession. That’s up from about 35 referrals in 2010. 

“With this lawsuit we hope to bring attention to the toll vaping is taking on the health of our school children,” said Canyons General Counsel Dan Harper, prior to the Canyons Board of Education’s decision on Sept. 7 to move forward with the lawsuit. “It’s also having an impact on schools, which have diverted staff resources for vaping cessation and education programming. These products have been marketed as safe alternatives to smoking. But they have reignited tobacco use among a population that had never smoked, and we feel it’s important to bring this issue to light.”   

If successful, the districts that join the suit could receive money from Juul, valued at $10 billion, to pay for education initiatives, student-supervision personnel, cessation counselors, and vaping detectors, among other tools and programs for vaping-prevention efforts.

Vaping devices heat up a liquid to create an aerosol vapor, which the user inhales. Designed to resemble USB flash drives, keychains or lipstick tubes, they are easy to conceal and don’t emit the strong odor associated with conventional combustion cigarettes. It’s not uncommon for students to use the devices in school bathrooms, locker rooms, outside school campuses, or even in classrooms.

recent study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control study found that 99 percent of e-cigarettes sold in the United States contain nicotine, which can harm the adolescent brain, particularly the parts of the brain that control attention, learning, and mood and impulse control. They can also contain “other harmful substances” and put young people at risk for future addiction problems, the CDC says.

CSD Calls on Community to Help Recruit Substitutes

Even in years without tumult, it takes a village to raise the next generation of entrepreneurs, scientists, artists, and leaders. But now more than ever, Canyons District is relying on members of the community to help all of its 50 schools and programs continue to operate smoothly. 

While the corps of certified substitutes in Canyons is strong,  the demand for substitute teachers who can step into the classroom at a moment’s notice is growing by the day as CSD starts the 2021-2022 school year in earnest. 

While 83 percent of Canyons District teachers and other licensed personnel participated in last year’s CSD COVID-19 vaccination clinics, employees are still asked to stay at home if they are experiencing such symptoms as a sore throat, sniffles, fever or a cough. Teachers also require substitutes for medical reasons, such as maternity leave or surgery.

Additionally, the majority of teachers are parents, and there are days when they need stay home with their children who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus or are experiencing symptoms. 

“Last year, when we needed substitutes, our community stepped up in a big way.  We put out a call for substitutes and so many people stepped forward, rolled up their sleeves, and got to work in so many important capacities,” said Sally Sansom, Canyons District’s Human Resources Administrator. “This year, the need is just a great — if not greater.” 

In just the first few weeks of the school year, CSD is receiving more than 100 requests a day for substitutes. Canyons is committed to ensuring that every class has supervision, but the dearth of active subs has required schools to ask office staff to leave their regular duties to teach a class, or recruit part-time employees to come in on their days off, Sansom said.

Sansom also some teachers have been asked to do double-duty to cover for an ill colleague.  Employees at the Canyons District Offices are being asked to break free from their duties if there’s a class that needs to be covered, as well.

Canyons has several kinds of substitutes, ranging from those who have a teachers’ license, such as retired teachers, to regular and emergency substitutes. The pay ranges from $95-$137 per day, depending on credentials. There also are additional stipends for long-term substitutes. 

This year, despite having nearly 300 substitutes in its pool, Canyons is looking for members in the community who would consider working as an emergency substitute to step in and fill in the gaps. Busy substitutes who are willing to accept the daily teaching jobs can earn up to $500 a week.

“What person doesn’t like to go into a job and realize, if I wasn’t there today, there would be a big void — my taking on this job filled a huge hole that was there in the school, and I really made a difference?” Sansom asks. “If there are ways we can help our schools, our communities, and we are looking for ways to do that, subbing is a great thing to do.”

Members of the community who want to be a substitute are asked to go to canyonsdistrict.org.  Please scroll down to “Be a Sub” button and submit the appropriate application information. 

Questions?  Please call CSD’s Human Resources Department at 801-826-5477.

Canyons Announces Dates, Times for SALTA Testing

Does your child have a strong sense of curiosity, a need to explore subjects in surprising depth, and ability to quickly learn complex information? 

If so, your student might be a candidate for Canyons District’s SALTA magnet program for advanced learners — and the time for applying to test into the program is coming soon.

SALTA — Supporting Advanced Learners Toward Achievement — serves students who demonstrate significantly high cognitive and academic abilities in comparison to peers. Students in kindergarten through the seventh grade can apply online to test into the program starting Tuesday, Sept. 7. The deadline for applying is midnight Friday, Oct. 1. Unfortunately, we are not able to accept late applications.  

Due to the time-intensive and rigorous nature of the process for determining a student’s fit for the program, parents are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the testing requirements and characteristics of advanced learners (see below) before completing an application. 

National Association of Gifted Children (NAGC) Resources for Parents

Utah Association for Gifted Children (UAGC) Resources for Parents

Parents who apply for testing, will receive an email with more information on testing times and locations. All testing will take place between Oct. 18 and Nov. 19. 

Questions? More information, can be found at isd.canyonsdistrict.org, or by calling the Instructional Supports Department at 801-826-5044.

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