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Denver Public Schools board votes to form lawsuit against social media companies


By Jasmine Arenas

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    DENVER (KCNC) — Earlier this year, the surgeon general issued the first-ever public health advisory on the negative effects of social media on young people.

Up to 9% of 13 to 17 year olds reported using a social media platform with more than a third saying they use it almost constantly.

In June, a whistleblower revealed thousands of pages of documents that showed Facebook possibly knew it could be negatively impacting youth.

Now, parents and schools are filing lawsuits. That includes Denver Public Schools.

DPS School Board President, Xochitl Gaytan says enough is enough.

She adds the big push behind this lawsuit comes down to this: kids are influenced too much on social media platforms and that can affect them negatively.

The DPS board wants to put a stop to social media challenges, swatting and violence students encounter via social media.

“It is terrifying to think about the inappropriate images that they are consuming right now, the inappropriate messages that they may be consuming,” said Gaytan.

In a unanimous vote, the DPS board has decided to pursue a lawsuit against social media companies like Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, YouTube and Google.

Because they believe these platforms are damaging to students mental health.

“That impacts their learning, it effects their behavior and their growth as young people,” said Gaytan.

Gaytan is behind this move because as a parent herself, she worries.

“My son could be manipulated by social media through these algorithms with images and messages you know that… if they don’t align with my values he shouldn’t be seeing,” said Gaytan.

Four law firms are preparing this lawsuit.

Four law firms are preparing this lawsuit. Those law firms are Wagstaff & Cartmell, LLP, Beasley Allen Crow Methvin Portis & Miles, P.C., Kirton McConkie PC and Goza & Honnold, LLC.

Goza & Honnold out of Kansas City is one of the firms that provided a presentation to the board via zoom, he says not only are these platforms damaging to students, but it has also cost the schools thousands of dollars with having to incorporate mental health professionals and education about the dangers of social media.

“Many of the schools that we represent have spent thousands or even millions of dollars combatting this problem, and we are here to help them do that,” said Goza.

“We need to be looking with how those resources should be allocated to benefit our students and impact our students in a positive way,” said Gaytan.

DPS says they won’t have to pay any attorney fees by joining the lawsuit, but the four law firms behind this would get 33% of any settlement.

Jeffco voted to join last week.

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Article Topic Follows: CNN - Regional

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