A gavel on a table

In a significant development in the ongoing battle for student health and wellness, Prince William County Public Schools (PWCS) joined numerous school districts across the U.S., including Fairfax and Loudoun, in lawsuits against Altria, a major investor in Juul Labs, Inc., e-cigarette manufacturer. The suits sought damages incurred by school divisions in addressing the significant problems posed by vaping by students. As a result of the settlement with Altria, PWCS expects to receive in excess of $500,000.

In addition to its settlement with Altria, the School Board has also agreed, along with hundreds of other school divisions across the country including Loudoun and Fairfax, to assert claims against various social media outlets, including Facebook, Snapchat, Tik Tok, Instagram, and YouTube. These moves reflect the growing concern among school districts nationwide about the detrimental impact social media is having on student mental health and academic performance.

PWCS, like many school divisions across the country, has witnessed a surge in the detrimental social, emotional, and mental effects of social media among its student populations. The alarming trend has prompted education leaders to take action against the companies that produce and market content to children. By joining this lawsuit, PWCS aims to hold these companies accountable for the companies’ role in fueling a mental health crisis among its students and the significant burden it places on the school division to address those issues.

These actions by PWCS underscore the urgency of addressing these health crises among students and sends a clear message that PWCS is willing to fight for the health and wellness of their students and hold accountable those responsible for promoting harmful products to children.