DEWITT, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Social media giants like Meta and TikTok are being sued by school districts nationwide. Jamesville-DeWitt Central School District now set to join the suit and the first Central New York district to do so.
The board voted Monday night to approve a resolution allowing the district to join the lawsuit which looks to hold social media companies responsible for student struggles with mental health.
More than 200 school districts nationwide are suing these social media giants, including Jamesville-DeWitt, joining a class action lawsuit against these tech giants, claiming they are causing emotional distress and are aware of the issues, but not doing anything to fix it.
“There’s been issues with cyber bullying, mental health issues, content that’s being shared to the students which is causing an issue within the school district,” said Ryan McCall, attorney at Tully Rinckey PLLC, headquartered in Albany.
McCall says this is part of a larger initiative in New York.
“They’ve really been trying to curtail the abilities that social media has to reach children and especially school aged children,” said McCall.
But it’s not just a statewide issue.
“We’ve seen other states throughout the nation even begin to enact bans on social media for children under the age of 18. This is a serious issue that’s been really ongoing and continuing to develop within the United States,” said McCall.
However, McCall says social media companies will try and settle this lawsuit.
“In cases like this what you’re really seeking is a decision. If they are able to hold these social media companies liable you’re going to see a flood effectively. You are going to see more than just this class action and you’re going to be able to see additional litigation being commenced against these companies for wrongdoings in the future” said McCall.
The case is still in its early stages.
“They are most likely going to get a judge involved then from there what they are going to be able to do is go down to the mat. Basically at each point somebody is going to have to make their argument and say listen we’re suffering these damages, this is how we’re suffering and this is what we are expecting the cost to be,” said McCall.
McCall says it could take one to four years before reaching trial. At that point a decision would most likely be issued in three to six months.