Earlier this week, a Georgia high school went viral after photos were shown on social media of PACKED possibly Corona coated hallways. Very few face masks were seen in the pics and the photos were used as an example of what children could face as schools reopen across the country.
Now, students who exposed conditions at that school are facing consequences.
BuzzFeed News is reporting that two students were suspended from Georgia’s North Paulding High School for sharing the pandemically packed footage. The students told BF that the school that was reopened for in-class learning on August 3, and disciplined them for “violating a social media policy.”
North Paulding student Hannah Watters, 15, shared a video on Twitter of “what it looks like” at North Paulding “even with split dismissal.” Split dismissal staggers dismissal times and is supposed to help with social distancing. In Hannah’s footage, you can clearly see that there are little to no face masks present and the hallway is again, critically crowded.
Hannah told BuzzFeed News that she was suspended for five days over the footage.
“The policies I broke stated that I used my phone in the hallway without permission, used my phone for social media, and posting pictures of minors without consent,” she said.
“Not only did they open, but they have not been safe. Many people are not following CDC guidelines because the county did not make these precautions mandatory.”
Honestly, Hannah is lucky she can stay home where it’s safe instead of somewhere where sources told BuzzFeed that several members of the football team are positive for COVID-19 and where mask-wearing is NOT mandatory for students or staff. Instead, it’s been called a “choice.”
Like Hannah, another student, who did not want their name used, also told BuzzFeed News that they were suspended for posting photos on Twitter.
Hannah is planning on fighting her suspension and said that while she understands she violated policy, the school went to extreme measures.
“We have a progressive discipline system. When disciplining me and the other student, they skipped level one and went straight to two.”
She’s since appeared on CNN to address her suspension.
Audio has also surfaced allegedly of North Paulding High School Principal Gabe Carmona over an intercom threatening discipline for anything that’s posted on social media “negative or alike” without permission.
Paulding County Superintendent Brian Otott released a statement to parents today criticizing media coverage. In it, he says that teachers are receiving threats. He also said that the district is working to reopen the waiting list for virtual learning that filled up quickly.
A portion of the statement reads;
“Obviously, during these first three days some challenges have arisen that have been compounded by the nature of social media and news coverage. As you have seen, the exposure has escalated quickly. In at least one case, inaccurate reporting by the news media has resulted in threats against staff members, including one staff member who was misidentified and was not even involved in the story that was reported on a national network.
This is not to excuse the fact that there are issues we have encountered this week and that are being addressed at this moment. We are taking steps to further reduce the crowding in high school hallways during class changes, and we are reinforcing guidance for mask use, social distancing and cleaning/disinfecting to ensure these protocols are taken seriously.
In that same Back to School letter of July 31st, I wrote, “For those of you who chose in-person instruction, I want to strongly recommend and encourage students to wear masks in our school buildings. We are providing all staff with cloth masks and face shields, and we are encouraging students to bring their own masks but will have extras available if needed.”
I would like to say again that mask use is strongly encouraged and ask our families to send their children to school with a mask.
My staff and I are also reviewing student discipline matters that have occurred this week in both the virtual and in-person instructional platforms. We have also identified additional staffing and resources so that we can begin accommodating those on the waiting list for virtual instruction. In the coming days, we will begin the process of transitioning all elementary, middle, and high schools students on the waiting list, now that logistics of scheduling are being ironed out. Parents on the waiting list will receive a confirmation email.”
M E S S.
What do YOU think about what’s going on at this GA high school?