Watertown school district joins social media lawsuit

Watertown school district joins social media lawsuit
Published: Sep. 6, 2023 at 5:55 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - The Watertown city school board voted Tuesday night to join a class action lawsuit against platforms like TikTok, Meta, and other social media companies.

The lawsuit says social media addiction has contributed to a mental health crisis for students.

As a result, districts have been allocating money from their budgets for educational campaigns on social media harms.

Watertown superintendent Larry Schmiegel says the district is not alone facing this issue.

“I’m hoping out of this social media lawsuit to bring awareness to our community, to identify that social media, although it can be a positive, it can also be a negative drawbacks to our students and their mental health,” he said, “so awareness is the number one thing that I’m hoping for all of us to learn from this.”

There’s no cost for the district if the lawsuit fails.

The school board also passed a resolution to compensate teachers if they cover a class during a period when they aren’t teaching.

An agreement was reached with the teachers’ union to pay them $35 for each extra period they work.

A shortage of substitutes is one of the main reasons for the agreement.

“It acknowledges our teachers that are giving up their planning period to cover for a teacher who is absent,” Schmiegel said, “and to provide a certified individual in the face of our students in the case of their teacher’s absence, so this is an excellent opportunity.”

Schmiegel says the agreement will continue until 2027.