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Georgia High School Students Suspended For Tweeting Viral Pictures of Crowded Hallways During School Re-Opening

via Twitter; @ihateiceman

Two Georgia high school students were suspended for chronicling overcrowding and minimal mask-wearing in their school’s hallways during its first couple of days re-opening amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Day two at North Paulding High School,” 15-year-old Hannah Watters wrote on Twitter this week. “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 also noted in a subsequent tweet that the crowding problems were occurring “even with split dismissal,” a staggered schedule policy that many schools have adopted to attempt to lessen crowding in hallways.

In an interview with BuzzFeed News, Watters said she was suspended after the photo was shared by Twitter accounts with large followings and went viral.

“I used my phone in the hallway without permission, used my phone for social media, and posting pictures of minors without consent,” Watters said was the reasoning behind her suspension.

After the posts went viral, Paulding County School District superintendent Brian Otott penned a letter to his community defending his school’s policies relating to social distancing and mask-wearing, saying that the district does not enforce facial coverings, calling them a “personal choice.”

Still, Otott wrote, “[t]here is no question that the photo does not look good.” Otott did not address the students’ suspensions.

Online, people ripped the school for their decision to suspend at least two students over the images, calling it “terrible optics” and “absolutely outrageous.”

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