NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Wilson County Schools is considering joining the fight against social media giants.
Earlier this year, the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System announced a lawsuit against big tech companies like Meta, TikTok, and Snapchat for harming students’ mental health, causing damage to schools, and being platforms for school threats.
“It’s pretty clear that we have day-to-day issues with students that originate in social media,” said Carrie Pfeiffer, the Wilson County School Board vice chair.
Pfeiffer told News 2 one of the biggest concerns for Wilson County Schools is students interacting with disruptive TikTok trends.
“It’s not one kid doing something stupid and taking a soap dispenser off the wall. It was kids in every single school taking all of the soap dispensers out of the bathroom,” Pfeiffer explained.
Social media has also become a platform for school threats.
According to the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office, 33 school threats were reported in Wilson County Schools and the Lebanon Special School District last year. The majority of those threats were unsubstantiated, but nine individuals individuals were charged with making threats of mass violence.
In August and September of this year, the sheriff’s office investigated 14 school threats. As a result, five people were charged with making threats of mass violence.
The sheriff’s office told News 2 that a majority of these threats originated on Snapchat, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter/X.
“How many times do we have to police TikTok threats and complaints a week?” Jamie Farough, the Wilson County School Board chair, asked during a school board meeting on Monday, Nov. 6.
Wilson County Attorney Mike Jennings also spoke to the school board that night about the pros and cons of signing onto the lawsuit. He said well over 20 systems have joined the fight in Tennessee so far, in addition to more than 700 school districts that have joined in across the country.
Pfeiffer told News 2 it is still undecided whether the Wilson County School Board will join the lawsuit.
“If we jump on board with this, suing those companies is not going to be free, and so jumping on those and becoming part of those suits, it has the potential to be long term and has the potential to be expensive,” Pfeiffer explained.
The lawsuit is asking for money from the social media giants to hire mental health counselors and buy technology that can block social media on campus. The suit also requests that social media companies add more parental controls and limit the amount of time teens can spend on social media.