Tennessee school systems join lawsuit against social media companies seeking protections for students

Amid a growing mental health crisis among students, 33 Tennessee school systems 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.”

The boards of all school systems in the social media litigation voted to join the lawsuit, and include:

Anderson County Schools
Bedford County Schools
Bledsoe County Schools
Blount County Schools
Cannon County Schools
Claiborne County Schools
Clarksville-Montgomery County Schools
Collierville Schools
Cumberland County Schools
Fentress County Schools
Grainger County Schools
Greene County Schools
Greeneville City Schools
Hamblen County Schools
Humphreys County Schools
Johnson City Schools
Johnson County Schools
Knox County Schools
Lenoir City Schools
Lincoln County Schools
Loudon County Schools
Maryville City Schools
Metro Nashville Public Schools
Oak Ridge City Schools
Oneida Special School District
Putnam County Schools
Sevier County Schools
Shelby County Schools
Stewart County Schools
Sullivan County Schools
Van Buren County Schools
Warren County Schools
Wilson County Schools

“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.”

Other Tennessee school districts interested in joining the lawsuit may contact:

Chris McCarty
Attorney at Law
Lewis Thomason
cmccarty@lewisthomason.com
865-541-5256

About Brad Jones

Brad is the Owner/Operator of BBB TV 12, and has been with the company since August of 1996. Brad is a 1987 graduate of Coalfield High School and a 1995 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Communications. He won the 1995 broadcast production student of the year award. Brad worked at Shop at Home, Inc. a home shopping network that was located in Knoxville, TN from 1993 - 1995 and then at Via TV (RSTV, Inc.) from 1995 - 1996. After some freelance work in Nashville, Brad joined the BBB Communications staff in August of 1996. A short stint at WVLT TV as a news photographer was in 2001, but he continued to work at BBB TV as well. Brad is married to Nicole Jenkins Jones, a 1990 graduate of Oak Ridge High School, who works at Oak Ridge Gastroenterology and Associates in Oak Ridge. They have 3 kids, Trevor Bogard, 27, Chandler 22, and Naomi 13. On December 12, 2013 they welcomed their first grandchild, Carter Ryan Bogard. Brad is also the assistant boys basketball coach at Coalfield High School for the past 11 years. In 2013-14 the Yellow Jackets won their first district title since 1991 and just the 4th in school history.

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