ESCAMBIA COUNTY, Fla (WKRG) — School districts across the country are suing social media platforms, accusing them of causing a mental health crisis for America’s youth.
The complaint, filed by Levin Papantonio Rafferty on behalf of the Escambia County School Board, alleges platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok specifically target children and create a youth mental health crisis that’s impacting education.
“This lawsuit for the school board, particularly, is because of the resources they’ve had to expend in protecting our children from themselves and from social media platforms who have been exploiting them intentionally,” said attorney Kimberly Adams, of Levin Papantonio Rafferty.
Adams says the goal of the suit is to hold social media companies accountable.
“It should send a big alarm … Congress has met on this issue. It’s trying to determine whose responsibility is it. I think the lawsuit is sort of the only way to get the attention of social media platforms that we need action by them.”
Another aim of the lawsuit is to bring the district funding to create a long-term plan to deal with the mental health crisis.
“How do we deal with this? How many more resource officers do we have to have?” said Adams. “I guarantee you most school districts, as it is now, do not have enough resources to deal with the problem that we’re seeing.”
More than 40 state-level lawsuits have also been filed over this issue.
As states and districts seek action, Adams says they’re already seeing improvements on social media, namely with age verification and algorithm changes.
The Escambia County lawsuit has been transferred to California where it will be heard with similar cases.
Santa Rosa County District Schools tells WKRG News 5 that their school board is also taking similar action.