According to a
report by the New York Times, 15-year-old student Hannah Watters was suspended by North Paulding High School after one of her tweets went viral. The tweet, which featured a photo of a crowded school hallway, was liked over 4,000 times.
Watters published the photos to criticize the school district’s approach to limiting the spread of coronavirus. “Day two at North Paulding High School. It is just as bad. We were stopped because it was jammed. We are close enough to the point where I got pushed multiple go to second block. This is not ok. Not to mention the 10% mask rate,” Watters wrote in the tweet.
Many Twitter users claimed that the image was proof that students should not return to school in the fall. “Parents & kids & teachers & staff are petrified to send their kids to school & this is why.If you’re threatened by admin to not take pics or speak to media, ignore them,” one user wrote.
One local reporter shared a recording 0f North Paulding High School Principal Gabe Carmona threatening to punish students that post on social media about conditions at the school. “Anything that’s going on social media that’s negative or alike without permission, photography, that’s video or anything, there will be consequences,” Carmona says in the short clip.
On Friday, Watters announced that the school district had reversed her suspension. Watters suggested that the reversal occurred after the district received messages from concerned citizens.
“This morning my school called and they have deleted my suspension. To everyone supporting me, I can’t thank you enough,” Watters wrote in a tweet. “If I’m not responding it’s because my life has been somewhat crazy the past few days. Once again thank you.”
In an interview with CNN, Watters said that she posted the photos to Twitter because she was worried about the safety of her community.
“I’d like to say this is some good and necessary trouble,” Watters said. “My biggest concern is not only about me being safe, it’s about everyone being safe, because behind every teacher, student and staff member there is a family, there are friends, and I would just want to keep everyone safe.”
“There is no question that the photo does not look good,” Paulding County School District Superintendent Brian Otott wrote in a letter to the community.
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