More Ontario schools and boards join lawsuit against social media giants

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Published May 29, 2024 at 9:01 am

lawsuit social media school ontario

More Ontario schools and boards have joined the lawsuit against social media companies, including a Peel board.

Seven additional schools and boards are taking up the fight against tech giants Meta, Snapchat, and TikTok for disrupting student learning and the education system, according to a press release from Schools for Social Media Change.

These schools and boards join four of Ontario’s largest school boards — Peel District School Board, Toronto District School Board, the Toronto Catholic District School Board and the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board — who initially launched the suit in March.

The lawsuits claim social media products, intentionally designed for compulsive use, have rewired the way children think, behave, and learn and educators within these boards/schools have been left to manage the fallout.

The allegations in the lawsuits filed in Ontario Superior Court have not been proven.

The new schools to join the lawsuit include public and Catholic school boards:

  • Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board
  • York Catholic District School Board
  • Trillium Lakeland District School Board
  • Ottawa Catholic District School Board
  • District School Board of Niagara
  • and private schools Holy Name of Mary College School and Eitz Chaim

The mix of public and Catholic school boards, and private schools in both urban and rural regions of Ontario demonstrate this is a universal issue that affects those from diverse cultural, religious and socio-economic backgrounds, the release states.

The addictive properties of the products designed by social media giants have compromised all students’ ability to learn, disrupted classrooms and created a student population that suffers from increasing mental health harms, Schools for Social Media Change states.

As a result, social media companies have forced school boards to divert significant resources including personnel, hours, funds, and attention to combat the growing crisis caused by their products, the release states.

“Our board believes that extraordinary lives start with a great Catholic education. However, our students’ education is being disrupted by the impact of social media products,” said Marianne Mazzorato, director of education,  Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board.

“This is why we have joined the many schools and boards across the province in their fight for restoring academic success for our future leaders.”

The lawsuit, led by Toronto-based boutique litigation firm Neinstein LLP, calls on social media giants to redesign their products to keep students safe. These changes will result in a reduction in mental health harms to youth and disruptions to the education system, the release states.

The lawsuit also seeks compensation on behalf of school boards for the losses related to tackling the crisis social media has created in Ontario schools.

While the use of devices in schools is one piece of the puzzle, this is a multifaceted problem. The provincial government’s recent policies limiting cell phone use in schools, highlights concerns surrounding social media products, Schools for Social Media Change states.

To learn more about the lawsuit and to follow developments, see the Schools for Social Media Change Alliance at https://schoolboardsforchange.ca.

Lead photo: fauxels

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