The McLean County Public Schools board of education approved a resolution on April 20 to move forward in litigation against social media companies for “harmful” business practices targeted to students.

“They are harmful to the mental and emotional health of the youth,” said MCPS Superintendent Tommy Burrough. “We want to do our part.”

Hendy Johnson Vaughn Emery attorney Ron Johnson will represent MCPS as outside counsel.

Along with McLean County, Johnson is representing 30 districts across Kentucky and Indiana in the litigation, including Hopkins and Daviess County Public Schools.

“This is important because schools are encountering massive increases in costs of addressing mental health issues in students,” Johnson said. “The reason there is an increase is because of the affect social media has had on the mental and emotional well-being on students.”

Johnson said social media companies use algorithms that “employ what children view” in social media and causes them to become “almost addicted.”

“There is also content out there that is harmful to the psychological well-being of students,” he said. “Social media has caused increased mental health issues among children and the schools rightfully believe the companies should pay.”

By joining in on the litigation against the social media companies, Johnson said it shows families in the district that they are being proactive.

“It shows they believe in actions, not just words,” he said. “They’re not just sitting idly by and waiting for other districts to do it, and I commend the school districts who are joining, especially ones like McLean County.”

Because school districts across the country are voting to take part in the litigation, the cases will be consolidated, but Johnson said that doesn’t mean every district won’t be heard.

“It’s important to note that each district still has their own individual case,” he said. “They will be heard in the same court by the same judge. It’s not a class action lawsuit.”

Having the cases consolidated has its advantages, according to Johnson.

“Being consolidated means that the districts and lawyers can work together,” he said. “These cases are large and the most complicated to litigate. We’re suing multiple social media companies.”

Johnson said it’s “impossible to say” how long the litigations might take but would have a better understanding once the judge enters the scheduling order.

“We aren’t trying to end social media, and we understand there are positives associated with social media,” he said. “We’re just trying to get them to stop harmful business practices and pay for costs associated with the harm that’s already been caused.”

Karah Wilson, 270-691-7315,, Twitter: @karahwilson19

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