Wichita is the latest — and largest — public school district in Kansas to announce plans to sue the popular vaping company Juul Labs.
Olathe, Goddard, Shawnee Mission and several other school districts across the country have already filled lawsuits.
During its meeting Monday night, Wichita's school board approved local law firm Hutton & Hutton to investigate whether a lawsuit is justified. The board says vaping threatens student health, distracts students in class and drains school resources needed to enforce vaping bans.
Board president Sheril Logan said recovered damages could be used to hire counselors to help students with vaping addictions.
The action was approved 5 to 1, with board member Julie Hedrick voting against the action. She said she was concerned about the district getting caught up in another lengthy and time consuming legal battle.
Board member Ernestine Krehbiel voted for the lawsuit, saying that vaping also leads to a drop in attendance.
"We have to take a responsibility for something that is impacting our kids learning … our kids' attendance," Krehbiel said.
Stephan Bisaha, based at KMUW in Wichita, is an education reporter for the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KMUW, Kansas Public Radio, KCUR and High Plains Public Radio covering health, education and politics. Follow him on Twitter @SteveBisaha.