GA High School Lifts Suspension Of Student Who Took Viral Pic Of Crowded Hallway

(Getty Images)

A high school student in Dallas, Georgia who was suspended for tweeting a photo of her school’s crowded hallway amid COVID-19 announced on Friday that the suspension had been cancelled.

Hannah Watters, a sophomore at North Paulding High School, tweeted that the school had called her earlier that morning to inform her she was no longer suspended.

“To be 100% clear, I can go back to school on Monday,” she wrote. “I couldn’t have done this without all the support, thank you.”

On Wednesday, Watters was handed a suspension a day after she tweeted a photo of her fellow students stuffed together in a hallway with a caption that read “This is not ok.” The photo then went viral.

Watters told local news outlet 11Alive on Thursday that the school had cited the school district’s policies prohibiting the use of cell phones in the hallways and going on social media during school hours.

However, the hallway restriction does not apply to students in 9th through 12th grade, per the district’s code of conduct. Additionally, Watters said that she had posted the photo after school hours.

The student admitted to violating the policy on recording other students without permission but said she was unaware of the rule at the time.

“I was mostly anxious, nervous and scared because this virus is very serious obviously and we weren’t taking the right precautions to keep people from getting it at the school,” Watters told 11Alive. “So I took that picture out of concern for the county and all the kids there and all the teachers and staff.”

Dr. Brian Otott, the Paulding County School District superintendent, sent a letter to the community stating that the photo “does not look good” (emphasis his) but that people were “using it without context to criticize our school reopening efforts.”

Otott’s letter was first obtained by CNN. The school district did not respond to TPM’s request for comment.

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Latest News
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: