Credit: Marcos Mesa Sam Wordley/

Evanston/Skokie District 65 will consider joining a nationwide lawsuit against Facebook, TikTok, and other social media companies.

The proposal is on a school board committee agenda for Wednesday afternoon.

Language in the resolution states that the widespread use of social media “among public school students has expanded dramatically, leading to significant risks of anxiety, depression, thoughts of self-harm and suicidal ideation among students.”

The document says that more than 335 school districts across 11 states are already on board with the suit, against Meta Platforms, Facebook Holdings, Snap Inc., TikTok, Alphabet, and “other parties responsible” for the design, marketing, and proliferation of social media.

Allegations include widespread student usage of social media adding to the District’s costs “in the form of staff time, disciplinary proceedings, social and emotional counseling, medical services” and other expenses, which will only increase “unless and until student use of social media is reduced or the social media platforms reform their practices in attracting students.”

To join the suit, District 65 would have to sign on with a California law firm that is pursuing the case. There is mention of an “Attorney Client Fee Contract,” which is supposed to be attached to the resolution, but which has not been included as of now.

The suit would seek unspecified “monetary and non-monetary damages.”

Lawsuits such as this are often at minimal or no cost to the plaintiffs, with the law firm getting a percentage of the court judgment or out of court settlement, should that happen. However, without seeing the contract D65 will consider with the resolution, it’s impossible to say for certain.

An article in “Education Week” says, “While legal experts are skeptical that these lawsuits will succeed in the court of law, in the court of public opinion, they may have more success.”

A similar but unrelated suit was filed by the state of Arkansas against some social media firms.

In response to that lawsuit, a spokesperson for Meta (Facebook’s parent company) told the Associated Press that Meta has taken a number of steps to protect teenagers, including age verification technology and filters which remove certain types of content.

“These are complex issues,” the spokesperson told AP, “but we will continue working with parents, experts, and regulators … to develop new tools, features, and policies that meet the needs of teens and their families.”

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Join the Conversation


  1. For a District that is victimized by Facebook, they sure have a robust presence there.

    Another exercise in virtue signaling….

  2. What a joke. This is so hypocritical.

    One of the main things the District does is shove technology down kids’ throats.

    Every elementary school student is issued either an iPad or a Chromebook. We get a weekly report of all the sites they visit when they use them at school (we block internet access from the devices at home).

    Half the time they are visiting YouTube and watching random entertainment videos.

    Curiously, one of the defendants in the suit they are signing on to is YouTube. So, good luck with that lawsuit if it ever makes it to court.

    Not coincidentally, one of the firms working on the case is Franzcek Radelet, which is the District’s long-standing law firm.

    This whole suit is more of a money grab by the law firms who are probably looking for a settlement where they get a lion’s share of the money.

    I am in agreement with the sentiment of the suit. But if District 65 were actually serious about social media use among children, they wouldn’t be giving devices to 6 year olds and letting them access the sites at school.

    1. Do children really get iPads or exposure to tech at age 6 in the elementary schools? I’m hoping not…

      1. They absolutely issue devices (iPads or Chromebooks, depending on the grade) to each student. They also use them in the preschool program at Joseph Hill, although the kids there don’t take them home.

        I’ve never heard a compelling reason for WHY impressionable kids need these devices and whether any advantages are out-weighed by the disadvantages.

        Administrators have told us they are needed in case we have to go back to remote learning, which is ludicrous. The initiative to do this, however, started before the pandemic.

        1. I have kids starting elementary school in the next couple of years and don’t want tech exposure that young (or at least very minimal time). Do all schools do this or just d65? Is that why some parents are going private schools?

      2. As a D65 parent I can confirm that my child had access to YouTube on the school IPad during kindergarten last school year. They don’t have the YouTube app but the kids just use safari to browse to the site. We did not approve of that or the massive amount of screen time the kids were subjected to in school. I agree with the sentiment of the lawsuit but D65 is extremely permissive of students access to these platforms. The fact that kids are allowed to straight up surf their phone during class in high school really speaks to D65s complicity in the social media problem among youths in Evanston.

    2. Class action lawsuits like this are always a cash grab by attorneys. Still, 60 percent of the recovery isn’t bad if you can suppress the gag reaction at the lawyers take. Just be sure the law firms cover all the cost.

  3. Yep. May D65 should stop issuing mandatory iPads to six year olds. Will probably work better than suing a multibillion dollar technology company.

  4. This seems like an odd posture given how the D65 Facebook page has been weaponized by a small number of mean, petty people.

    Until the Board addresses the lack of civility in that space this is nothing but hypocrisy and another bandwagon pose.

    1. D65 Parent — the “D65 Parents & Guardians” group you’re referring to was not created by the District and is not an official group of the district. They have a FB Page, but not a Group. The group is run by these admin/moderator volunteers who, from what I can tell, were not elected by anyone, and I’m not sure what could ever be done to make any real change there.

      Unfortunately, people searching for a main D65 info/forum group see the 4.5k members, which is significantly more than even the 3.5k “followers” of the official D65 Page, and likely automatically think “oh, this must be where everyone gets their information on here”. Short of getting someone in a position of power to actually state a problem with the status quo FB Group, which again, doesn’t have any official connection to the D65 admin/board, I don’t envision there being any major changes on that front.

      All that said, this law suit is about the social media/tech companies’ lack of oversight /guardrails for usage among YOUNG people, especially when it’s encroaching on time they can and should be spending developing academically and socially (i.e. direct communication not sending tiktoks to buddies).

  5. The District should at least acknowledge it, say the discourse there is not reflective of their values, and condemn it. Their engagement (liking posts etc.) shows not just tacit, but active approval of the hateful ad hominem attacks that characterize that space.

    But the Board benefits from it, so they will do nothing.

  6. This is yet another waste of taxpayer money and valuable resources where the school is trying to be the parent. Parents just need to keep their kids off social media (yes you can).

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