Claiborne County Schools join lawsuit against social media companies

Published 4:14 pm Wednesday, March 20, 2024

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Amid a growing mental health crisis among students, 33 Tennessee school systems, including Claiborne County, have filed similar lawsuits against social media companies for protection for children across multiple popular platforms. 

The lawsuits seek actionable accountability, tools and resources to address the lack of protections, monitors, controls and cooperation to protect children. Companies included in the lawsuit include Meta, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, Google, WhatsApp and YouTube (Meta Platforms, Inc; Facebook Holdings, LLC; Facebook Operations, LLC; Meta Platforms Technologies, LLC; Meta Payments, Inc.; Instagram, LLC; Siculus, Inc.; Snap, Inc.; TikTok, Inc.; ByteDance, Inc.; Alphabet, Inc.; Google, LLC; XXVI Holdings, Inc.; WhatsApp, Inc.; and YouTube, LLC.).

The suits, with the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System filing as the first Tennessee district, now include multiple systems, including Shelby County Schools, the largest public school system in the state. Frantz Law Group in California, working with Lewis Thomason in Tennessee, is managing the lawsuit. 

“The concern about the lack of proper protections and the negative impacts on children who use social media is clearly an important issue for school systems across the state,” Lewis Thomason attorney Chris McCarty said. “Hundreds of thousands of students are represented by these school systems, which amplifies the demands to social media giants.” 

Chuck Carter, director of Sullivan County Schools, said, “With the ever-increasing use of social media among students, we’ve seen negative effects in the classroom, including disruptions, mental health issues and safety concerns. We’re charged with educating, preparing and protecting students and consider the requests in the lawsuit to be common sense solutions that could make a positive impact to combat these issues.”

“Controls for student access to these platforms combined with helpful resources have the potential to help parents, teachers and students as they navigate social media,” said William Shinoff, an attorney with the Frantz Law Group. “These media giants have an opportunity – and a responsibility – to protect children.”