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APS Joins Nationwide Social Media Lawsuit

Several schools across the United States are involved in a lawsuit against social media companies for their alleged targeting of youth and getting them addicted to social media platforms, resulting in mental health concerns.

Alpena Public Schools has agreed to sign on to the lawsuit as well.

“So many of our disputes in the classrooms and in the school building either started on social media, or they started in person and then they festered and erupted on social media,” said APS Superintendent David Rabbideau.

APS will present data for the lawsuit in regards to physical damage to the school and the negative mental health effects as a result of social media they have experienced.

If the lawsuit is successful, they will receive financial compensation and will use that compensation towards educating students about the effects social media can have.

“There’s the mental health – just of when you’re obsessed with or addicted to, constantly on social media that has negative impacts on your mental health, causes depression, anxiety, stress, things like that,” said Rabbideau. “We’ve got survey data that shows that our students and staff are really seeing spiking levels of anxiety, depression, stress and those sorts of things.”

Rabbideau says since limiting social media and phone usage in the schools, they have seen positive results.

“That’s been a big benefit to a learning environment, doing that,” said Rabbideau. “Students are interacting face–to–face a lot more, they’re interacting with each other, they’re interacting with their teachers, so as far as, ‘how do we control that?’ the device can’t be out.”

APS expects a decision from the social media suit on a similar timeline to the vaping suit they have been involved in, which was between a year and a year and a half.