A suspended teacher, stopping Juul sales and an Ebola outbreak

Nov. 12-Nov. 18


Smoke fills the air after a student inhales from a Juul, Jan. 6.


Know: Poplar Bluff School District suspended a teacher after one of the teacher’s students wore a Ku Klux Klan outfit in class, Nov. 12.  

Inform: A student in a 9th grade history class giving a report over the 15th Amendment dressed as a KKK member, Nov. 9. Students often wear costumes while giving their presentations to represent their amendments. The 15th Amendment grants voting rights to all regardless of race or color. The KKK, a white-supremacist group formed in 1865 is known for its hate crimes against blacks, Jews and Roman Catholics. Students posted photos of the KKK costume on Snapchat, and the photos made their way to facebook. The school district launched an investigation after the teacher failed to condemn the student, resulting in the teacher’s suspension. The details of the length of the suspension are unknown.

Care: Following the suspension, the teacher released an apology to the students and parents of Poplar Bluff School District. While the number of KKK groups in the U.S. is on the decline, there are still at least 953 hate groups in the U.S. and 18 in Missouri alone. The Federal Bureau of Investigation reported a 17 percent increase in hate crimes from 2016 to 2017. EHS and RSD work to prevent hate in our schools through Speaking up at school and equity groups like E-squared.


Know: Juul has stopped selling particular flavored pods in stores in an attempt to reduce teen vaping, Nov. 13.

Inform: Juul-users are able to insert pods of various flavors into the device to vape. Each pod contains five percent nicotine, which is the equivalent to 20 cigarettes. The e-cigarette manufacturer announced that creme, cucumber, fruit and mango flavored pods are all to only be sold on the Juul website, while mint, menthol and tobacco will be sold in stores. Kevin Burns, CEO of Juul Labs, says that the initiative is to prevent teen vaping since flavored pods appeal to younger vapers. In September, the Food and Drug Administration gave the five largest e-cigarette manufacturers–Juul being one of them–60 days to report plans to address and eliminate the use of their products by minors. Juul will now no longer sell products to anyone under 21, despite laws that lower the legal tobacco purchasing age. Juul will also increase their secret shopper program from 500 visits to 2,000 visits a month to random retailers to ensure that they are enforcing the new standards.

Care: The FDA reports that at least 3.6 million high schoolers vape. Of these students, 67.8 percent use some sort of flavored e-cigarette. The National Institute on Drug Abuse says that 66 percent of teen vapers believe that their device is simply flavoring, while only 13.2 percent are aware that their device contains nicotine. The FDA has called underage vaping an “epidemic.” The Center for Disease Control reports that if youth smoking continues growing at the rate it has been, 5.6 million of today’s Americans under 18 will die from a smoking-related illness. With the growing problem that is underage tobacco use in any form, teens are setting themselves up for lifelong illnesses and in some instances death.


Know: The Democratic Republic of Congo is in the midst of an Ebola outbreak.

Inform: The outbreak, which is the second of the year, began in North Kivu, later moving to Ituri, both in the northeastern part of the country. This is the tenth time Ebola has struck the country since 1976, and this is the worst case yet. The outbreak has already affected at least 358 and killed 213 since it began in August. North Kivu is a hotspot for refugees with over 1 million refugees moving in and out creating a higher risk for the spread of Ebola. The disease-spread through human-to-human contact and bodily fluids–is usually fatal, killing around 50 percent of those infected.

Care: The World Health Organization predicts that it may be as long as six more months until the outbreak can be declared over. An armed group tried to attack United Nations peacekeepers monitoring the outbreak, Nov. 16. The peacekeepers were able to push back the attackers, but the Emergency Operations Center for the outbreak closed in an effort to keep peace. The attacks are nothing new as rebel militant groups have been attacking healthcare workers throughout the entirety of the Ebola outbreak killing seven U.N. peacekeepers and 12 Congolese soldiers. With both infection and violence breaking out, the conflict has become much larger than stopping the disease. All it takes for disease to travel is one person, which is why the U.N. closely monitors such situations. Diseases know no boundaries.