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

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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.

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Notable Replies

  1. Avatar for tena tena says:

    Good because I didn’t think that was right at all. Suspend a kid for telling the truth basically - what kind of message does that send?

  2. Shades of Trumpism…
    Punish the messenger or the truth teller
    Reward the wrongdoer or the liars and criminals…esp. Trump’s BFFs!

    NOT a good way to teach students to do the right thing!

  3. On the PR front, the school looked really bad for this suspension. Glad they reversed course. Sunlight will do that.

  4. I wonder if the student’s parent is a lawyer…

  5. Avatar for pshah pshah says:

    Well, sure. So much more of a punishment to make the poor kid attend a school with hundreds of unmasked students congregating in crowded hallways.

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