District 64 joins growing lawsuit against social media companies

Another suburban school district has joined a growing class-action lawsuit alleging Facebook and other social media companies have harmed students and cost them money.

The Park Ridge-Niles District 64 school board on Thursday night voted to enter the fight, which also targets the companies behind Snapchat, Google, TikTok and other services.

The plaintiffs include about 700 districts, including 57 in Illinois, District 64 Superintendent Ben Collins said.

Others in the Chicago area include Des Plaines-based East Maine District 63, Park Ridge-based Maine Township High School District 207 and Elgin Area School District U-46.

In the resolution approved Thursday, District 64 officials claim the proliferation of social media among students has led to "significant risks of anxiety, depression, thoughts of self-harm and suicidal ideation among students."

Students have been active on social media while at school, and the activity has affected schools financially "in the form of staff time, disciplinary proceedings, emotional and social counseling (and) medical services," the resolution claims.

"These costs will only increase unless and until student use of social media is reduced or the social media platforms reform their practices in attracting students," the resolution reads.

Other plaintiffs have made similar claims. Participating districts are represented by the Frantz Law Group of California at no upfront cost.

"We don't see a downside to us," Collins said.

The District 64 board passed the resolution without objection. Five members voted to join the suit, while two - Gareth Kennedy and Monica Milligan - voted "present" citing professional conflicts of interest.

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