June 23, 2024

Georgia School suspends teens for sharing photos of maskless peers


North Paulding High School in Georgia has suspended at least two of its students after the said students shared images of their school hallway crammed with mostly maskless peers.

The school came into the limelight a couple of days ago when photos and videos went viral on social media showing the school’s crowded walkway on the first and second days of getting back to session.

Following social media images showing a throng of teens jam-packed together on walkways without face coverings, online commenters and parents have expressed their concern over how the district is handling re-opening of schools during the coronavirus pandemic.

Paulding County Schools Superintendent Brian Otott wrote a letter in reaction to the images posted online, criticizing the images not looking “good,” while adding the images lacked context about the school, where masks are a “personal choice.”

A news media reported that a student, known as Hannah Watters, 15, wore a mask when she captured the inside of her school, but she was suspended for five days for violating the district’s student code of conduct.

Students are not allowed to use social media or any form of recording devices during the day, according to the school rules.

Watters told a news agency that the schools have only opened; however, they are still unsafe from coronavirus infections, as many people are not following Center for Disease Control guidelines due to the choice they have to comply or not with the precautions.

“I’ve never broken the rules of the school. This is the first time. But I see the disciplinary action as unnecessarily harsh,” Watters said.

A news media reported that another student who preferred to be anonymous said that he also faced same punishment for sharing images from the school on social media.

On Wednesday, Principal Gabe Carmona warned other students against doing the same as there will be consequences like the cases of Watters and the other student.

Superintendent Otott has said the district will make cloth masks and face shields available to all staff and will reduce the crowded school hallways during class changes as a measure against the coronavirus spread.

He stated in its notification to parents via email this month that the district has not enforced social distancing and the wearing of masks in school, and that it would be nearly impossible to enforce on school buses and in classrooms.

Otott said he, together with his staff, will be reviewing student discipline matters, including the one of Watters and the other student that happened during the week.

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