Georgia School District Inadvertently Begins Teaching Lessons In First Amendment Protections After Viral Photo

from the not-how-this-works dept

There's this dumb but persistent meme in American culture that somehow the First Amendment simply doesn't exist within the walls of a public school district. This is patently false. What is true is that there have been very famous court cases that have determined that speech rights for students at school may be slightly curtailed and must face tests over "substantial disruption" of the speech in question in order to have it limited. Named after the plaintiff in that cited case, the "Tinker test" essentially demands that schools not simply dislike a student's speech or the discomfort that comes from it, but instead must be able to demonstrate that such speech is disruptive to the school and students broadly. The facts of that case, for instance, dealt with students being suspended for wearing anti-war armbands. Those suspensions were seen as a violation of the students' First Amendment rights, because obviously.

Subsequent cases, such as Morse v. Frederick, have very slightly and narrowly expanded the limitations on speech within schools. In this case, for instance, a student's speech encouraging the use of illegal drugs was found to be a valid target for school punishment. But, narrow or not, some analysis has worried that cases like this could be used to expand the curtailing of student speech:

By contrast, the Eleventh Circuit extended Morse's rationale about illegal drugs to the context of student speech that is "construed as a threat of school violence". Boim, 494 F.3d at 984 (upholding the suspension of a high school student for a story labeled as a "dream" in which she described shooting her math teacher). Moreover, the court concluded that Morse supports the idea that student speech can be regulated where "[in] a school administrator's professional observation ... certain expressions [of student speech] have led to, and therefore could lead to, an unhealthy and potentially unsafe learning environment".

Disallowing student speech that amounts to threats of violence indeed seems to make sense. That being said, speaking of "an unhealthy and potentially unsafe learning environment":


You'd be forgiven if you thought that picture was taken from the Paulding County high school six months ago, with so few masks. But it wasn't. Instead, it was taken on August 4th, the first day back to school for Paulding County. Whatever your thoughts on whether and how schools should be opening, you really need to go read that entire article from BuzzFeed. The overwhelming impression left is that Paulding County appears to have reopened its schools in as callous and cavalier manner possible while still staying just inside government guidelines. Masks? Sure, if you want, but they're optional. Distancing? Of course, but we can't really enforce it in any meaningful way. And overall safety?

North Paulding teachers said they too felt they had no choice but to show up to work, even after a staff member texted colleagues saying she had tested positive for the virus. The staffer had attended planning sessions while exhibiting symptoms, one teacher said.

She did not attend school after testing positive. But teachers have heard nothing from the school, they said, which won’t confirm that staff members have tested positive, citing privacy concerns.

The Paulding County School Superintendent, Brian Otott, began reaching out to parents to reassure them that what they saw in the viral photo going around Twitter was fine, just fine. It lacked context, you see. Context, one presumes, is another word for safety. Or, if we are to believe Otott, the context is essentially: yes, this is totally happening, but the state said we can operate this way.

Otott claimed in his letter that the pictures were taken out of context to criticize the school’s reopening, saying that the school of more than 2,000 students will look like the images that circulated for brief periods during the day. The conditions were permissible under the Georgia Department of Education’s health recommendations, he said.

This from the same state that has the 6th highest number of total COVID-19 cases, the 11th most total cases per capita, the 4th most total new cases in the last week, and the 6th most new cases per capita in the last week. So, you know, not the state doing the best job in the country by a long shot at containing outbreaks of this virus.

Which perhaps makes sense, actually, since Otott seems chiefly interested in containing not the virus in his school halls, but rather any criticism of his district. Remember that viral photo that kicked off this discussion? Well...

At least two students say they have been suspended at North Paulding High School in Georgia for posting photos of crowded hallways that went viral on Twitter.

The photos show students packed into hallways between classes, not appearing to practice social distancing and with few masks visible, amid the coronavirus panic. They went viral after being shared by the account @Freeyourmindkid.

Those suspensions being handed out are five day suspensions and are being levied at violations of school rules around using cell phone cameras without permission. A couple of things to say about that.

First, the removal of a student from a School-sanctioned petri dish of a novel coronavirus feels odd as a punishment. Were it not for the intentions of the Superintendent, it would be damn near heroic as an attempt to save these kids from getting sick.

Second, refer back to my two paragraph throat-clearing above. This isn't constitutional. Nothing about the students sharing their concerns amounts to a disruption of school, or anything else that would qualify this protected speech for scholastic punishment. Taking a fearful 15 year old student and punishing him or her for their fear is beyond reproach. And, about those school rules for cell phones:

On Wednesday, an intercom announcement at the school from principal Gabe Carmona said any student found criticizing the school on social media could face discipline.

Again, plainly unconstitutional. One wonders why anyone should have faith in a school administration that isn't even educated enough on the rights of its own students to keep from ignorantly broadcasting its idiocy over school intercoms. Why are these people even allowed to teach children in the best of times, never mind during a pandemic as these kids get herded like cattle to the slaughter through school halls?

While I guess we'll all get to see what happens in this idiotic school district now, and maybe even learn some lessons from what occurs, I'm generally not of the opinion that we should treat our own children like they were the subjects of some kind of bizarre modern-day Tuskegee test.

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Filed Under: 1st amendment, free speech, georgia, paulding county, photos, school reopenings, students, suspensions
Companies: north paulding hs


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  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 6 Aug 2020 @ 1:50pm

    All the students should be posting images

    The appropriate response to punishment mandates for expressing grievances is for more people to express grievances.

    Maybe demand the removal of the administrators enforcing such a policy, or the humiliating pictures will not stop.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Koby (profile), 6 Aug 2020 @ 1:56pm

    Anonymity

    I understand that many people want to associate their real life with their online social media handles. But I see this as an excellent lesson in maintaining a degree of anonymity. Kids: sometimes jerks online don't like what you have to say, and will demand punishment for anyone who dares to criticize. So post some of those pictures or videos anonymously if you can, and add some plausible deniability.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 6 Aug 2020 @ 2:02pm

      sometimes jerks online don't like what you have to say, and will demand punishment for anyone who dares to criticize

      Fun fact: The jerk who didn’t like the photo was in meatspace, and the punishment wasn’t “demanded”, but actually handed out. Contain your “cancel culture” calamity within your mammaries.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 6 Aug 2020 @ 3:23pm

        Re:

        Koby is referring to publishing pictures online under anonymous or randomly generated usernames to prevent them from being punished. They were clear in their meaning, perhaps you are too quick to jump on the anti/cancel culture bandwagon to be commenting your opinions on everything.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 7 Aug 2020 @ 1:29am

        Re:

        I'm usually all over Koby when he spouts nonsense, as he often does. But in this case he's right. Anonymity is the only force multiplier the citizenry has visavi authority when the chips are down.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 7 Aug 2020 @ 2:09am

          Re: Re:

          Except, that has absolutely nothing to do with this situation.

          First, the student is not anonymous. As far as I can tell, the tweet linked to above is not the student's own account, but it doesn't really matter who posted it first. There will be many context clues from the photo to confirm who is likely to have taken the picture, and the principal will have doubtless put pressure on other students to tell him who took it. Not having a name associated with the tweet is irrelevant if the context and content of the tweet identified the photographer.

          Second, any retribution he's facing has nothing to do with Twitter. This is a principal punishing a student for misconduct while on school grounds. The fact that the misconduct happened via the internet, and the fact that it was justified behaviour in this case, is not relevant to Koby's usual obsessions.

          Thirdly, you can certainly argue that the "punishment" received here is exactly what the student wanted. He obviously didn't feel comfortable milling around with groups of hundreds of unprotected students, and removing himself from that could have been the aim in the first place. Even if not, it's possible that public pressure will now force the principal to actually protect his students. Part of civil disobedience is accepting the punishment for your actions because you believe that the

          Finally, it's a dumb pivot to see a principal openly violating the safety of his student with the excuse of "well, this is how it was pre-pandemic", and have the takeaway from that being that the important thing is whether someone uses an anonymous Twitter account. Especially given that the school district in question has known active cases.

          https://www.ajc.com/education/get-schooled-blog/paulding-confirms-covid-19-case-on-first-day- at-elementary-school/6TZ3XHVRKFGIDPTV32P2PLJP7A/

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 7 Aug 2020 @ 5:38am

            Re: Re: Re:

            Concur with all of the above.

            Just saying that Kobys argument, taken as is, is still on the money. I'd welcome even Baghdad Bob running an argument if that unworthy ever managed to squawk out a logical one.

            (Sure, I'd be hauling out the big guns because I know his next comment would move the goalposts into the next time zone and contain crates of red herring and burning strawmen marinated in false equivalence, but still...I axe the arguments I see as false, not the ones i anticipate the poster making).

            "Finally, it's a dumb pivot to see a principal openly violating the safety of his student with the excuse of "well, this is how it was pre-pandemic", and have the takeaway from that being that the important thing is whether someone uses an anonymous Twitter account."

            Concur again. I'd argue the principal in question is here at the point where he can be said to recklessly endanger the life and health of his students, and ought to be hauled to court for it. I don't agree it's a dumb pivot as such.

            Because we are at the point where in the US any student or employee willing to challenge their higher-ups about the way their actual lives are put at risk is posing that challenge in an environment as open to criticism as the old USSR. With the president himself personally moving to expose as much of the US to infection as possible any government employee will find themselves making poor, or even lethal decisions.

            Your argument is sound. So, in this rare instance, is Koby's.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 6 Aug 2020 @ 3:50pm

      Anti-speech aligns with anti-anonymity.

      Among our officials and law enforcement, those who want to be able to regulate speech widely intersect those who want to regulate encryption, privacy and anonymity, respectively.

      In the case of school administrators trying to silence dissenting students, they're interested also in quelling the ability of students to be anonymous or act without observation.

      They want a gun to everyone's heads.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 6 Aug 2020 @ 10:36pm

      Re: Anonymity

      "Kids: sometimes jerks online don't like what you have to say, and will demand punishment for anyone who dares to criticize"

      This wasn't a jerk online, this was his IRL school principal.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 7 Aug 2020 @ 1:31am

        Re: Re: Anonymity

        "This wasn't a jerk online, this was his IRL school principal."

        You had no need to say it twice, Paul.

        It's pretty clear his high school principal is a jerk. Yes, we should hold a school principal to other standards than the school bully but it's pretty obvious that just ain't the case here...

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 6 Aug 2020 @ 11:38pm

      Re: Anonymity

      If that is the lesson you got from this story, Koby, holy shit are your priorities fucked up.

      Koby: "hey kids, instead of standing up and speaking out your mind, how about you hide."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 7 Aug 2020 @ 1:35am

        Re: Re: Anonymity

        "If that is the lesson you got from this story, Koby, holy shit are your priorities fucked up."

        I normally don't exactly see eye to eye with Koby but...in this case, he's right.

        It's pretty obvious that in the US of today standing up and speaking your mind gets you punished, often without recourse. A vindictive school official can seriously ruin the future of any child who exposes him as the spineless wretch he is.

        It's not in this case the priorities which are fucked up, but a system so broken the messenger bearing bad or politically inconvenient news will be shot if identified.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 7 Aug 2020 @ 4:11am

          It's pretty obvious that in the US of today standing up and speaking your mind gets you punished, often without recourse.

          The late John Lewis was beaten by cops for daring to march across a bridge in support of voting rights for Black people. He knew he would be punished for what he did; he did it anyway because he knew he was doing the right thing. Anyone else willing to do the same — to get in “good trouble” — deserves credit for their choice.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 7 Aug 2020 @ 5:51am

            Re:

            "He knew he would be punished for what he did; he did it anyway because he knew he was doing the right thing. Anyone else willing to do the same — to get in “good trouble” — deserves credit for their choice."

            So they do, Stephen.

            However, you know what I find is a greater win than martyrdom? The one who did the right thing and managed to not get hurt over it.

            I find it more than a little uncomfortable that whenever we admire a case where someone suffered for their beliefs what we all instinctively focus on is the person who did the suffering, and their bravery and moral courage - rather than on the fact that what is horrendously wrong is that the person had to suffer at all.

            One of the many very terrible aspects of human nature is that we appear, as a species, to need someone to get seriously hurt before we bother to realize the situation is awful.

            In a slightly saner society the principal of that school would have been hung out to dry without anyone knowing who delivered the inconvenient and damning evidence.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 7 Aug 2020 @ 6:27am

              I would prefer for progress to come without violence. No one should have to die or be hurt so they can, say, access their civil rights. But if a person must suffer violence to win their fight and they move forward anyway, we can respect them for their choice.

              The people who marched across the bridge on Bloody Sunday knew their march would likely be met with violence at some point. They chose to march anyway because they felt that strongly about their cause. That level of courage deserves more respect than I can fathom.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 7 Aug 2020 @ 7:01pm

              Re: Re:

              I find it more than a little uncomfortable that whenever we admire a case where someone suffered for their beliefs what we all instinctively focus on is the person who did the suffering, and their bravery and moral courage - rather than on the fact that what is horrendously wrong is that the person had to suffer at all.

              Because people call it "character building" and that's okay.

              One of the many very terrible aspects of human nature is that we appear, as a species, to need someone to get seriously hurt before we bother to realize the situation is awful.

              Funny story - if you call something "character building", you get to say that "well, if you want the status quo changed, you'll have to suffer enough before we say you qualify, and we hold the goalposts in our hands and have no reason not to move them, so... I hope you like suffering for breakfast, lunch and dinner!"

              It's no surprise why Calvin's dad gets lampooned so much in Bill Watterson's strips. The guy wrote from experience.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2020 @ 9:23am

        Re: Re: Anonymity

        That is perfectly reasonable advice from koby. Anonymous political speech is a cornerstone of social and political discourse in this country. Also, when you are a kid who has no recourse against a principal except to sue (time and money most of us dont have), not making yourself any easy target is a good idea. Hence koby's line about plausible deniability. Love the site, your coverage, and the opportunity to engage at this level. Thanks!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Aug 2020 @ 2:20pm

    It appears that they are trying to kill us.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 6 Aug 2020 @ 2:30pm

    'You get Covid! And you get Covid! EVERYONE GETS COVID!'

    Well that's one way to boost the economy, specifically the funerary and casket makers part of it. Can't possibly imagine how the state has such high infection rates if that's the level of care and concern they show towards the pandemic.

    As for the pathetic excuse of a human running the school it would seem that they're taking their cues from Trump and other thin-skinned thugs throughout history, 'criticize me and suffer the consequences for it', and while that may cow some people all it's really doing is showing how indefensible their actions are and how utterly unfit for their position they are.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 6 Aug 2020 @ 2:39pm

      Re: 'You get Covid! And you get Covid! EVERYONE GETS COVID!'

      Well, you want the students to be prepared for real life, don't you?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 7 Aug 2020 @ 1:38am

        Re: Re: 'You get Covid! And you get Covid! EVERYONE GETS COVID!'

        "Well, you want the students to be prepared for real life, don't you?"

        That, I think, was some of the darker sarcasm I've read around here lately. "All right, kids, you guys are at the cusp of adulthood so we'll be teaching you what adult life means. For starters we'll force you into a plague incubator, then you get to watch your elderly relatives die to what you brought home from it. Won't that be fun?"

        The script here was written by The Joker. That's the only explanation.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          David, 7 Aug 2020 @ 2:44am

          Re: Re: Re: 'You get Covid! And you get Covid! EVERYONE GETS COV

          Maybe you should read what this a reply to? It was to

          As for the pathetic excuse of a human running the school it would seem that they're taking their cues from Trump and other thin-skinned thugs throughout history, 'criticize me and suffer the consequences for it', and while that may cow some people all it's really doing is showing how indefensible their actions are and how utterly unfit for their position they are.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 7 Aug 2020 @ 6:04am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: 'You get Covid! And you get Covid! EVERYONE GETS

            It amounts to about the same, I'm thinking. By the time the students his adulthood either Trump will be gone and whoever comes after Biden will be the issue...or he's not gone and they all get to learn what it's like to live in the lite-version of the reich.

            Either way it means the children every authority is so keen we should be thinking about are about to become adults and so should be prepared to be tipped into the deep end of the pool with lead weights strapped to their ankles.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      murgatroyd (profile), 7 Aug 2020 @ 11:19am

      Re: 'You get Covid! And you get Covid! EVERYONE GETS COVID!'

      Don't forget the silver lining - it will also reduce both population pressure and the shortage of housing. And all it will cost is the lives of a whole bunch of people, most of whom still had things they wanted to do in this life.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Professor Ronny, 6 Aug 2020 @ 4:09pm

    Georgia

    This from the same state that has the 6th highest number of total COVID-19 cases, the 11th most total cases per capita, the 4th most total new cases in the last week, and the 6th most new cases per capita in the last week.

    I live in Georgia and the State government is handling COVID-19 terribly. Governor Kemp went so far as to sue Atlanta when they attempted to require masks because Kemp as an executive order making them optional.

    Kemp does not seem to care about the citizens of Georgia at all. All he seems to be concerned with is keeping Trump happy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 7 Aug 2020 @ 1:40am

      Re: Georgia

      "Kemp does not seem to care about the citizens of Georgia at all. All he seems to be concerned with is keeping Trump happy."

      Well, when all a politician has to do to retain office is to successfully smear an opponent while keeping a small cadre of fanatics happy, you get the resulting office-holder accordingly.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Upstream (profile), 6 Aug 2020 @ 4:35pm

    With schools like this

    (and there are lots of them, possibly even most of them, and they have been like this for decades, just maybe not quite so well publicized) is it any wonder the country is in such a sorry state?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Aug 2020 @ 4:42pm

    The ACLU must be salivating

    At the chance to represent some of these kids. Especially the ones that get punished for criticizing the school. What a ridiculous thing to have as a school announcement. The parents of that school district should be very vocal in demanding the removal of the entire school administration for such stupidity.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Aug 2020 @ 5:05pm

      Re: The ACLU must be salivating

      "The ACLU are suing us on behalf of students?
      Forrest Mendment?
      Never heard of him, sounds made up!"

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Aug 2020 @ 5:10pm

    I've run into, and participated in a Facebook argument that suggest that Georgia has a law that prevents the photography of children even in public spaces. I can't find significant references to the law and the few I can hint that it is aimed exclusively at registered sex offenders. Can anyone provide insight into the law, if it is real, enforced, or has been challenged on first amendment grounds?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ehud Gavron (profile), 6 Aug 2020 @ 5:37pm

    Terrorism

    We are not allowed to shoot our math teachers... that's just an unfortunate part of living in the United States... one of the compromises we make living here where the math teacher's right to live is not overshadowed by our right to kill the teacher for being a tight-ass OCD nutcase.

    I agree.

    We are, to the best of my knowledge still -- in 2020 -- allowed to have dreams, whether at night, daydreams, fantasies, and even watch movies where math teachers get shot to death in gruesome manners with AR-15s that the masses call "automatic military assault-style scary-looking dangerous nobody should own that" rifles.

    We can even do that in many FPS video games.

    But apparently if we TELL anyone about this thing, THAT is something we're NOT allowed to do and should be suspended, expelled, sent to the school-resource officer (cop who didn't quite have the IQ to be a beat cop), or shot by same.

    Somehow that makes no sense to me.

    The right to freedom of speech free of government interference should not extend to not sharing my dream. I didn't dream of shooting my math teacher, but I did have a crush on my 2nd grade teacher... if I'd said that would I have been suspended/expelled/SR'd/shot for possible sexual misconduct?

    Today's "school administrators" make a lot of money to do nothing more than stifle student rights, teacher salaries, and pad their pockets.

    It has been time for change for many years. This is year another one of them.

    Ehud

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 7 Aug 2020 @ 9:41am

      Re: Terrorism

      What the actual fuck are you talking about?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 7 Aug 2020 @ 11:21am

        Re: Re: Terrorism

        Referring to the first quoted article: "upholding the suspension of a high school student for a story labeled as a "dream" in which she described shooting her math teacher"

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 8 Aug 2020 @ 1:29am

      Zero Tolerance

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 8 Aug 2020 @ 1:48am

      Zero Tolerance

      We live in an era in which faculty and administrators freak out about kids drawing pictures of guns, or chewing their pop-tarts into guns. When a student expresses creativity that isn't in line with what is acceptable, there's not just a parent-teacher meeting about it, rather the police are called in or the student gets suspended.

      It was in 1999 that the movie Sixth Sense illustrated a relevant point. The quote is from Cole, the kid who sees dead people He tells Malcom:

      We were supposed to draw a picture, anything we wanted. I drew a man who got hurt in the neck by another man with a screwdriver... Everyone got upset. They had a meeting. Mom started crying. I don't draw like that any more... I draw people smiling, dogs running, rainbows. They don't have meetings about rainbows.

      Our system of zero tolerance [for anything that distresses authority] is teaching our students to draw rainbows. We're teaching kids they're not allowed to express feelings or discontent. Period.

      PS: When I was in the funny farm in 1996 (a psychiatric institute at one of the many medical schools in San Francisco), art therapy was a regular, daily part of our routine.

      Sometimes we were told to draw something with only a few directives and restrictions, and as I was someone there diagnosed with major depression, the stuff I would draw was often quite dark.

      The nurses got upset over my drawings. We were adults. They knew why I was there, and how I was crazy I was. I'd even warn them in advance that I am not feeling chipper today and might upset them yet again. (They'd always dismiss such warnings.) And yet, my lack of rainbows would make for stern, disapproving looks, scribbling in my personal records and discussions with the hospital psychiatrist.

      I was a troublemaker.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DB (profile), 6 Aug 2020 @ 8:47pm

    Wearing masks "can't" be enforced?

    The school district has remarkably strict rules limiting how students must dress.

    https://www.paulding.k12.ga.us/Page/1091

    Some of the terms are actually absurd, such as "(clothing) may not be altered from their original form".

    Adding masks to the rules is hardly a stretch. The rules already cover what you can wear on your head, and actually seem to prohibit wearing masks.

    Not Approved for School Wear

    Pants with holes, appearance of a hole, frays, rips, or tears ... Headgear is prohibited and must be kept out of sight on the school campus during the school day. This includes, but is not limited to, caps, hats, hoods, bandanas, wave caps, sweatbands, sunglasses, or any other head covering. No headphones, combs, rakes, curlers, or picks can be worn in the hair.

    Some of the terms are actually absurd, such as "(clothing) may not be altered from their original form".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 7 Aug 2020 @ 12:02am

      Re: Wearing masks "can't" be enforced?

      Sounds like a perfect way for students to protest if they have to go to school, deliberately wear clothing that violates the rules and wear a mask and just dare the school to step onto the PR land mine that's before them.

      'They're willing to prohibits certain clothing and punish students for wearing it but not willing to require masks during a deadly pandemic, nicely showing just how screwed up their priorities are.'

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 Aug 2020 @ 2:32pm

        Re: Re: Wearing masks "can't" be enforced?

        Finally the perfect opportunity to wear your underwear on the outside and a mask to be a hero!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 7 Aug 2020 @ 9:42am

      Re: Wearing masks "can't" be enforced?

      I think what they mean is that they're probably not going to have to deal with an enraged parent screaming in their face if they ask a kid to take off a baseball cap, but they will if they tell him he has to wear a mask.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Tanner Andrews (profile), 8 Aug 2020 @ 2:35am

      Re: Wearing masks "can't" be enforced?

      I think they are also requiring pants.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    stine, 6 Aug 2020 @ 11:06pm

    Georgia schools

    I live in Georgia, and in my opinion, the only reason that the schools are trying to re-open with on-site attendence is because if they don't, their federal funding will be cut.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 6 Aug 2020 @ 11:52pm

      Taking 'your money or your life' to a whole new level

      It takes a special kind of evil to force schools to choose between 'risk the lives of teachers and students by having on-site classes during a global pandemic that has killed a hundred and sixty thousand and counting in the US' or 'care about the lives of your students and staff and lose funding because of it', though at this point as insanely vile as that choice is I can't find it in me to be surprised that Trump and his cult have made it. Disgusted to the extreme yes, surprised no.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        David, 7 Aug 2020 @ 2:53am

        Re: Taking 'your money or your life' to a whole new level

        Well, election day is in three months, a disproportionately large number of non-whites and people underprivileged with regard to job conditions and job security and health insurance coverage die from COVID-19, and a disproportionately large number of non-whites and people underprivileged with regard to job conditions and job security and health insurance coverage don't vote for Trump.

        And Trump currently polls bad. Not a lot of time to correct the voter statistics, but using the schools as incubators might be the best shot at it.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 7 Aug 2020 @ 6:13am

          Re: Re: Taking 'your money or your life' to a whole new level

          "And Trump currently polls bad. Not a lot of time to correct the voter statistics, but using the schools as incubators might be the best shot at it."

          ...that I have to haul Poe's Law out of the closet again even for that statement is making me very, very sad.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2020 @ 7:35am

          Re: Re: Taking 'your money or your life' to a whole new level

          So now anti-Trump conspiracy theorists are accusing his administration of mass murder? You libby fucktards are so entertaining, I simply cannot wait to see your mentally-retarded, racist candidate lose by a landslide in a few months, there's gonna be lots of whining and crying to laugh at.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Uriel-238 (profile), 8 Aug 2020 @ 11:50am

            Anti-trump conspiracy theorists

            I simply cannot wait to see your mentally-retarded, racist candidate lose by a landslide in a few months, there's gonna be lots of whining and crying to laugh at.

            This is like Poe factor 3, but you smack of being a true believer Anonymous Coward.

            Tell us again how well Trump aced the Montreal Cognitive Assessment. He was so proud!

            Tell us again how our Peerless Leader is the best thing that ever happened to the Blacks since Lincoln, all the while he deploys DHS Mystery Men to tear gas BLM protestors and shoot at journalists.

            Tell us again how the federal No, I Don't Take Responsibility response to COVID-19 was the best in the world as the US climbs toward 5 million infections and exceeds 160,000 deaths. Tell us how we should totally be testing less so that rather than people dropping dead from COVID-19, they'd be dropping dead from mysterious alveolar disease that Trump could just shrug at. Tell us how Hydroxychloroquine is totally a cure and how all our students in school are probably immune anyway.

            At some point, soon maybe, President Trump will have no-where else to go but to step down, and we'll rip off his mask and he would have totally gotten away with it too if it weren't for those meddling kids.

            But we shouldn't expect expect him to step down lightly, even if he loses the election by a landslide. It was obviously rigged by the Deep State and Antifa and their mail-in ballot campaign. Maybe Trump will send in his DHS goons and stage a coup! He likes his new stormtroopers!

            There's gonna be lots of whining and crying, regardless. But people will forget about Trump the way they did about Bush, and you guys who are desperate for Mussolini to come tuck you in at night will find someone to vote for and promise to fix everything. And they too will go after dissenters, marginalized and journalists. If you think we're the laughing stock of the world now wait until the GOP props up a brand new demagogue. Maybe even a younger Trump!

            Don't worry. This is America. We're going to continue to prop up our failing state with jingoism where infrastructure collapses. We'll get you a brand new teddy bear after we break your old one.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2020 @ 7:00pm

              Re: Anti-trump conspiracy theorists

              There's gonna be lots of whining and crying, regardless. But people will forget about Trump the way they did about Bush, and you guys who are desperate for Mussolini to come tuck you in at night will find someone to vote for and promise to fix everything.

              People won't forget about Trump for at least another four years, because, I guarantee you, he is going to win the election. I say this not having voted for him in 2016 and not planning on voting for him this year. Mussolini? You dems supporters have that part covered.

              Can't possibly comprehend why someone who doesn't support Trump would be shitting all over you pathetic liberals? Here's why: because you people are little lying, two-faced scumbags, sitting on your highhorses, pretending to be such good, honest people, which is honestly so disgusting, because you're absolutely not. You're also not fooling anyone who has half a brain, which doesn't include most liberals. You're just like every other typical bullshit, brainwashed American, buying slave-labor goods to save a few bucks, supporting foreign imperialism by driving that gas-powered car every day, literally buying into the lies propigated by your political party of choice. What would you have done, had you been there, while George Floyd was murdered? I'm betting 99.9% you would have done absolutely nothing. Why? Because you're a self-serving piece of human filth and no amount of pain caused to anyone outside your own family is going to cause you any real, lasting emotional trauma. Not to a murdered black man, not to that tortured animal you swallowed up for dinner, not to that kid in Taiwan getting paid slave wages so you can pay $20 less for your sweet new pair of Nikes.

              So just fuck off with your little higher than thou charade, dirtbag.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Uriel-238 (profile), 8 Aug 2020 @ 10:17pm

                higher-than-thou charades

                You're the one making a fuckton of presumptions of who we (all) are. You're the one who decided we're what? Libby fucktards? Someone's been hanging too much with the /pol/ and /b/ crowds and believes shouting righteousness will make a difference. It wont. The red pills were fake all along.

                I get that you're angry. I'm furious. I get that you want to do something. But coming to this forum to lash out randomly like a chimpanzee rejected during estrus doesn't help anyone. You, like the rest of us, are yet another fool on the hill, watching it unfold without a lick of power to do anything to change the outcome. And yes, it sucks. Take a seat. Make some popcorn.

                As for Trump winning the election, I personally am not sure that's the worst case scenario. It's like driving the Titanic straight into the iceberg rather than veering: It'll cause a lot of damage while allowing the boat to not sink. Some would die, but not as many as emptying the ship into the lifeboats.

                A Trump victory will force the states to act to preserve themselves against a compromised federal government (rather than pretending a Biden term or two will restore normality). It'll force the people of the US to realize change cannot be attained within the system, rather than go on pretending. It'll hurt. It'll break the United States sooner, but that's better than trying to live with the fascist police state we have now, which is what we're going to do if Biden wins.

                I don't believe you can guarantee anything, Anonymous Coward. Your confidence in a Trump victory sound like a troll, though I suspect you're trying more to convince yourself. Our President is desperately trying to convince himself he can still win.

                Myself, I have no skin in the game. What must be done for the United States will not be done by either party. We all know this, as desperate as we are to deny it and pretend the status quo can go on for just a little longer. And it is dawning on the non-violent slow-change folk the US is going to bake and starve (and waste away without medical care) long before we're going to see the egalitarian system we were promised in grade school. More likely, half of our nation is going to be evacuated at gunpoint by the other half.

                The question is, how far along is the genocide machine going to get before we decide we have to take action. By then a formidable resistance may not be viable. To quote Russell, War does not determine who is right -- only who is left.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  PaulT (profile), 8 Aug 2020 @ 11:52pm

                  Re: higher-than-thou charades

                  "The red pills were fake all along."

                  I don't want to wallow in those particular depths, but I wonder how they're dealing with the recent admission that The Matrix was a trans metaphor. I bet there's a lot of anger and denial going on.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 8 Aug 2020 @ 11:42pm

                Re: Re: Anti-trump conspiracy theorists

                Those people you just hallucinated do sound bad.

                Now, are you capable of dealing with reality?

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 9 Aug 2020 @ 2:35am

                Re: Re: Anti-trump conspiracy theorists

                Wow, really pulling out the heavy hitters with this one are we?

                I say this not having voted for him in 2016 and not planning on voting for him this year

                Ah, the good old "long time lurker, first time shitposter" gambit, because the persona of "concerned diatribe generator" somehow validates your point.

                Can't possibly comprehend why someone who doesn't support Trump would be shitting all over you pathetic liberals?

                Actually, I can. It's because chumps like you think you're edgy as hell regurgitating the Rick & Morty copypasta.

                You're also not fooling anyone who has half a brain, which doesn't include most liberals. [flimsy blargha flargha follows]

                So because most Americans don't live off the land and happen to use something that a foreigner might have touched at some point due to how the global supply chain works, you think they're all as bad as the party that cages asylum seekers and grabs women by their genitalia. Stay classy, bro.

                What would you have done, had you been there, while George Floyd was murdered? I'm betting 99.9% you would have done absolutely nothing. Why?

                I don't know if you've been paying attention to incidents of police violence in the news, but civilians who try to intervene with cops doing shit - even if that shit is illegal - don't end off well. Cops don't like it when you do that. Courts rule adversely against you when you do that. Hell, minorities like the one that George Floyd belong to wouldn't do that either, especially not when they're used to any interaction with the police being negative.

                Why, would you have been the 0.1% who would have done something about it? If not, then join the club - you're a lib!

                So just fuck off with your little higher than thou charade

                Incidentally, I was looking for a new projector for my Blu-Rays.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Stephen T. Stone (profile), 9 Aug 2020 @ 4:41am

                With projection like this, you could open up a drive-in and make shitloads of money.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 10 Aug 2020 @ 8:50am

                Re: Re: Anti-trump conspiracy theorists

                So just fuck off with your little higher than thou charade, dirtbag.

                Why so triggered, snowflake?

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2020 @ 6:08pm

            Re: Re: Re: Taking 'your money or your life' to a whole new leve

            I simply cannot wait to see your mentally-retarded, racist candidate lose by a landslide

            Sometimes Trump supporters seem to indicate a sign of self-awareness.

            It's funny because being mentally retarded and racist was what won Trump the election.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 8 Aug 2020 @ 11:37pm

            Re: Re: Re: Taking 'your money or your life' to a whole new leve

            "So now anti-Trump conspiracy theorists are accusing his administration of mass murder? "

            No, people who are capable of reading numbers can show that 165,000 Americans have died on his watch, and that this is vastly disproportionate compared to the rest of the world (you have 4% of the population, but 23% of COVID deaths).

            Drooling morons like yourself started several wars over the deaths of 3,000 people on 9/11 and lost their shit over 2 deaths at Benghazi. Why are you defending the man who has killed so many people?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Aug 2020 @ 3:24am

    A teacher got covid 19, so don't tell anyone, we ll put everyone in mortal danger cos of privacy ,
    WTF!!!
    THERE'S zero attept at social spacing, no rules about wearing masks,
    When you are in a school teaching vulnerable students your right to privacy is not absolute if if have a deadly disease.
    Wearing masks has been shown to reduce the spread of covid But only if everyone wears them

    America is now a laughing stock it seems to have no leadership and rules that are lax and change week to week state by state in refatd to fighting the virus
    There's a reason this photo went viral
    There's no sign of any social distancing

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 7 Aug 2020 @ 5:30am

      Re:

      America is now a laughing stock it seems to have no leadership and rules that are lax and change week to week state by state in refatd to fighting the virus

      I am in Germany, and rules change week to week and partly state by state. The difference is that the changes are tracking the actual infection rates and science, and contact tracing in connection with a quite lower basic infection rate and localised heavy testing make it possible to apply measures where they are particularly effective.

      Things like mask wearing and social distancing are a nuisance and people question its value when infection rates are low. What people have a hard time understanding is that the largest benefit of wearing masks is not individual protection: dropping your risk of an infection to, say, a fourth is not security. It is for limiting the spread of the virus to a degree that infections don't run out of control before they can be contained.

      But that means that wearing masks is really important in those areas not actually seeing significant infection rates, since it an important part of the tool set for making sure that single infected persons (which you cannot totally rule out) will cause a large inflagration that can no longer be contained by the time it is discovered.

      Of course, when most people required to wear masks will not make any difference, acceptance is not high. The problem is you don't get advance warning when wearing a mask would make a difference for someone.

      Rules that change from week to week based on infection rates, test rates, return times of tests, and location, are not as such a sign of a lack of leadership even though that kind of back and forth may feel so. They are a consequence of the virus itself refusing to follow the instructions of the leadership, requiring the leadership to follow the facts.

      This has acceptance problems and suffers from more than enough fatigue even when working as responsibly as possible.

      That the U.S. decides to overload this process with conspiracy theories, wishful thinking, science bashing, scapegoating, political games and buttkissing and lies and distractions is not making good use of the citizens' capacity to heed sensible but annoying instructions of moderate local effectivity but making all the difference as a national strategy.

      The U.S. is not a laughing stock because its rules change week to week state by state, but because its rule changes are haphazard and ineffective and predicated on avoiding the effort of locking the barn door until after the mule has bolted, insinuating that the barn management is lacking a stable genius.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 7 Aug 2020 @ 6:11am

        Re: Re:

        "The U.S. is not a laughing stock because its rules change week to week state by state, but because its rule changes are haphazard and ineffective and predicated on avoiding the effort of locking the barn door until after the mule has bolted, insinuating that the barn management is lacking a stable genius."

        Or worse, the "rule" hasn't changed since Day One and still is something like "Stop making a fuss, you're making me look bad. Have some covfefe cut with lysol and listen to the good demon sperm doctor. That'll fix you right up."

        I'd argue the US might do better if they did change their rules based on casting bones or reading tea leaves every week.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          David, 7 Aug 2020 @ 7:04am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I'd argue the US might do better if they did change their rules based on casting bones or reading tea leaves every week.

          With all due respect to Trekkie fans throughout, I don't think that the solution of the current situation should be significantly determined by the search for a worthy successor of DeForest Kelley in his role as Leonard "Bones" McCoy.

          Casting Bones should really be considered independently.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Tanner Andrews (profile), 7 Aug 2020 @ 5:38am

    Re: [why are these people]

    Why are these people even allowed to teach children in the best of times, never mind during a pandemic

    Most likely because that is the best they can find in Paulding County, Georgia.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Aug 2020 @ 7:25am

      Re: Re: [why are these people]

      Best they could find, or the best prepared to work under the school administration? When you can't hire competent people, the boss is the one to blame.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Aug 2020 @ 7:12am

    Beyond reproach?

    Taking a fearful 15 year old student and punishing him or her for their fear is beyond reproach.

    Really?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    bob, 8 Aug 2020 @ 11:15am

    something that would have been justifiable

    Its easy to see what the school's motivation was in silencing the narrative. They didn't want to look bad. But my wife mentioned that there is a completely justifiable reason why the school shouldn't allow random photos in the hallways of mass groups of students. It protects the students that are hiding in witness protection or from dangerous relatives.

    Obviously that need to protect the students was not on the admins mind or used as justification for prohibiting photos of the students not wearing masks but it is something to consider.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2020 @ 12:44pm

      Re: something that would have been justifiable

      I don't think those issues would pass 1st Amendment muster. The same things could be said for taking pictures of anyone, anywhere, at any time.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 8 Aug 2020 @ 11:40pm

      Re: something that would have been justifiable

      "They didn't want to look bad"

      Well they failed miserably there. Not because of the photo, because of their reaction to it.

      "It protects the students that are hiding in witness protection or from dangerous relatives."

      Strangely, neither of those dangers are as immediate as the one posed by the pandemic they're ignoring.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    PaulT (profile), 9 Aug 2020 @ 3:34am

    ... and in perhaps the least surprising development ever, the school is confirmed at having 9 infections so far.

    https://www.ajc.com/education/9-cases-of-covid-19-reported-at-north-paulding-high-school/OWH6MN7DZ5 A2XDQMXX337AQEWI/

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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