Paulding County High School Un-Suspends Student But Can't Un-Infect Students Who Got COVID-19

from the think-of-the-children dept

Well, that didn't take long. We had just been discussing how the Paulding County School District had suspended a student for taking a photo of packed hallways filled with kids not wearing masks on the first day back to school a week or so ago. While the school mumbled something about the suspension being for using a phone without permission at school, the school also said the quiet part out loud over the intercom when it informed students that any social media activity that made the school look bad would result in "consequences." In case it wasn't already clear, that is blatantly unconstitutional, violating the students' First Amendment rights.

In the least shocking news ever, the district has since reversed that suspension.

A Georgia high school has reversed course and lifted the suspension of two students who were punished after posting photos of the school's packed hallways when classes resumed earlier this week. North Paulding High School in Dallas, Georgia, faced national criticism over the viral photos showing students shoulder-to-shoulder, with fewer than half wearing masks.

"This morning my school called and they have deleted my suspension," she wrote.

"To be 100% clear, I can go back to school on Monday. I couldn't have done this without all the support, thank you."

It appears that someone taught school administrators how the country's governing document works and caused them to run as fast as they could from the original decision to suspend anyone over free speech. Now, onto that bit about being able to go back to school on Monday. The problem with that is shortly after those controversial pictures were taken, a whole bunch of kids at the school got COVID-19. Again, this is not surprising.

Just days after a photo of crowded hallways at North Paulding High School went viral, parents were informed Saturday of nine confirmed cases of the coronavirus at the school.

Channel 2 Investigative Reporter Nicole Carr got a copy of the letter. Principal Gabe Carmona wrote that six students and three staff members who were in school last week have since reported positive tests for COVID-19.

And, as a result, North Paulding High School has fully shut down due to the spike in cases.

So, to recap, Paulding County suspended a student for essentially showing the world why she was fearful of attending her own school, due to state and local officials being absolutely callous with student safety, then unsuspended her, and are now dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak among students and staff. Hannah Watters, one of the students initially suspended for the photos, probably doesn't feel all that much vindication, however, so busy is she dealing with threats she's getting.

Watters said she's faced threats since she and another student shared pictures that captured national attention showing students shoulder-to-shoulder in a crowded hallway, many without masks.

"I know I'm doing the right thing and it's not going to stop them from doing it, but it is concerning, especially since it's a lot of the people that I go to school with," she said. "People I've known for years now that are threatening me now.'"

If one were trying to advertise to the public why they should not want to move their family to Paulding County, I can't imagine any agency coming up with anything better than precisely what has occurred there in this story.

Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: covid-19, free speech, georgia, north paulding high school, paulding county, school openings, schools


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


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

    'Who cares if people die, I need to graduate!'

    Watters said she's faced threats since she and another student shared pictures that captured national attention showing students shoulder-to-shoulder in a crowded hallway, many without masks.

    Oh bloody hell... I had originally thought and wrote out a comment about how those sending threats are likely doing so because they were pissed that someone dared question authority, but checking out the source link it is so much more pathetic, as the threats are apparently coming from teens so self-centered, stupid and sociopathic that they are pissed that someone alerted the public about an insanely dangerous situation because it might impact their ability to graduate.

    When asked about the threats, Watters said they're mostly coming from high school seniors who think she's trying to disrupt their final year.

    "Some of things are like, "We're gonna jump every girl named Hannah in the tenth grade' or 'Hannah is gonna have rough day in school on Monday,'" she told CNN. "Someone even said, 'I know where this girl lives' because he lives in my neighborhood.'"

    I guess 'who cares if you die so long as I get what I want' is a mindset that a number of the teens in that school share with those in the government.

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

    • icon
      Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 12 Aug 2020 @ 1:31pm

      Re: 'Who cares if people die, I need to graduate!'

      Is it that teens are as mindless as Government, or the other way around?

      In theory, people in Government have achieved sufficient life experience to know about and practice reason, though as we all know ideology sometimes (often?) gets in the way of reason. High school students don't have those same resources, though in their minds, ideology (me, me, me, me) is still in play.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Aug 2020 @ 2:27pm

        Re: Re: 'Who cares if people die, I need to graduate!'

        Reason? Reason? If you're going to insist that people around this school practice reason, you're going to throw off the curve!

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Aug 2020 @ 3:02pm

        Re: Re: 'Who cares if people die, I need to graduate!'

        The problem with reason is that people reason their way through layers of constructed bullshit instead of what really matters, as it is so overwhelmingly more important that it overshadows immutable underlying reality.

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

    • icon
      Samuel Abram (profile), 12 Aug 2020 @ 1:40pm

      Re: 'Who cares if people die, I need to graduate!'

      I guess 'who cares if you die so long as I get what I want' is a mindset that a number of the teens in that school share with those in the government.

      There are also plenty of anti-mask covidiot citizens out there, so it's not just teenagers and government officials.

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

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 12 Aug 2020 @ 2:09pm

        Re: Re: 'Who cares if people die, I need to graduate!'

        There are also plenty of anti-mask covidiot citizens out there

        Or as I've heard them named, 'maskholes'.

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

        • icon
          Samuel Abram (profile), 12 Aug 2020 @ 3:40pm

          Re: Re: Re: 'Who cares if people die, I need to graduate!'

          Or as I've heard them named, 'maskholes'.

          That's a good term, I should use it from now on…

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Aug 2020 @ 2:36pm

      Re: 'Who cares if people die, I need to graduate!'

      because it might impact their ability to graduate.

      While ignoring that Covid19 may also impact their ability to graduate, to live a full life or even live.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Aug 2020 @ 6:13am

      Re: 'Who cares if people die, I need to graduate!'

      Paulding County is a hick-filled backwater of mostly ignorant, racist, god-shouters, you know, Trumpists. The idiocy of these teens, the ones making threats, is beyond the simple, sociopathic narcissism typical of teenagers in general - it's a reflection of their breeding and rearing. As Jeff Foxworthy used to say, "If your family tree don't branch..."

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Aug 2020 @ 1:50pm

    Well, some of the people threatening her have cause to be upset, although not to threaten. After all, through no fault of their own, video of them walking down a COVID-infested hallway has now been shared with the world, while they were under the understanding that videography and photography, unless officially sanctioned, was banned on school property.

    I know I'd be upset if my kids were first required to attend school, and then a picture of them doing so in a sanctioned but unsafe manner was plastered all over the Internet.

    I bet that kid wearing the mask wasn't one of those threatening her.

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

    • icon
      Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 12 Aug 2020 @ 2:04pm

      Re:

      Why aren't you more mad at the officious jackholes who ordered them to school in an unsafe manner?

      "...while they were under the understanding that videography and photography, unless officially sanctioned, was banned on school property."

      Which is 1st Amendment protected activity, whether the schools like it or not.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Aug 2020 @ 2:12pm

      Re:

      I would be more concerned with the administration's indoctrination than the disregard for unconstitutional rules shown by students.

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

    • identicon
      Michael, 12 Aug 2020 @ 2:26pm

      Re:

      Yeah, if there's one thing all teens hate it's having pictures of themselves online. /s

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Aug 2020 @ 3:06pm

      Re:

      Yeah i'm sure all of them "understood" there wouldn't be photography in schools, and none of them do it themselves. But just the whistleblowers, those are the ones causing a problem.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Aug 2020 @ 2:19pm

    The principal made the school look bad so I assume they will be suspended.

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

  • identicon
    Bobvious, 12 Aug 2020 @ 2:35pm

    C.O.V.I.D.

    Carriers Of Viruses In Denial

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Aug 2020 @ 3:46pm

    This story is a reminder why america is failing to defeat covid, no leadership, no common sense,
    Send 100s of teens to a school with basically no basic rules on social spacing . Maybe wear a mask if you want.
    Of course some pupils caught the virus.
    And trying to censor students or take away thier free speech is not a good idea at any time.
    If schools cannot do it safely it would be best to simply leave education as an online process.
    Is going to a classroom worth risking your life for.?

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

  • identicon
    Glenn, 12 Aug 2020 @ 3:54pm

    Graduate? Just about every school in the country will be happy to graduate anyone and everyone who hasn't proven themselves to be complete "F" material--and a lot of them as well. School doesn't even need to be in session, not for months or maybe even years by the time this has passed. If your grades were good enough or even close to it when schools were in session, then you'll graduate. (Can't go to college yet though. Hmm, maybe ALL new college entrants will now need to take general and specific CL tests to get in?)

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

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 12 Aug 2020 @ 4:03pm

      Re:

      Graduate? Just about every school in the country will be happy to graduate anyone and everyone who hasn't proven themselves to be complete "F" material

      ...yes, Glenn. That's how graduating works. If you don't fail your classes, then you graduate.

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

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 13 Aug 2020 @ 8:48am

      Re:

      Can't go to college yet though.

      My son is currently registered for (community) college starting in a few weeks. I know other people attending four year colleges this fall. Not sure where you're getting the idea college is cancelled.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Aug 2020 @ 4:01pm

    Yep
    keep the indoctrination institutions up and running .
    How else can they keep up their Marxist propaganda mantra going
    if their slaves aren't in school ?
    Now the DNR is pushing mask wearing while at home on a video conference call
    ROTFLMAO . My goodness how you have all fallen down the rabbit hole .
    Listen the true way to avoid covid is wrap saran wrap around your head 5 times
    while standing on one leg , when you fall over you will be cured :)

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Aug 2020 @ 4:58pm

      Re:

      This is the most self-contradictory tinfoil hat shit i have seen in such brief form in a while.

      Almost Time Cube -worthy.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Aug 2020 @ 5:44pm

      Re:

      Drank your daily ration of bleach yet, Trumpy?

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 12 Aug 2020 @ 11:15pm

      Re:

      I often wonder how stupid you have to be to politicise basic hygiene and disease protection that people were doing a century ago to successfully stop the last pandemic. Thanks for providing an example of how stupid you have to be.

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

      • identicon
        ryuugami, 13 Aug 2020 @ 4:45am

        Re: Re:

        I often wonder how stupid you have to be to politicise basic hygiene and disease protection that people were doing a century ago to successfully stop the last pandemic.

        Well, I mean... *vaguely waves in the direction of the White House*

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

        • identicon
          Annonymouse, 13 Aug 2020 @ 7:30am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Best to just say all of DC so you don't miss any.
          They are like vampiric aphids.
          You need to get rid of all of them else the infestation will continue.

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

    • identicon
      Baron von Robber, 13 Aug 2020 @ 6:33am

      Re:

      Mental illness is a bitch. Did you forget the meds today or did the person who gives them to you die of COVID?

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

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 12 Aug 2020 @ 5:43pm

    reasoning

    To reason why, the reason that their reasoning, was not reasonable.
    Is the reason, reasonable persons consider reasons for and against any reasoning.

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

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 12 Aug 2020 @ 9:23pm

    This high school leadership seems to be Trump supporters.

    And look where it got them...

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

  • identicon
    David, 12 Aug 2020 @ 10:01pm

    It's a trick!

    It appears that someone taught school administrators how the country's governing document works and caused them to run as fast as they could from the original decision to suspend anyone over free speech.

    They cannot suspend them over free speech about COVID-19, so now they suspended everyone over COVID-19.

    Collective punishment.

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

    • identicon
      OGquaker, 13 Aug 2020 @ 3:30am

      Re:

      The two whistle blowers should have full College scholarships in their future, and should probably skip high school. Moral leadership is hard to find today.

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

      • icon
        ECA (profile), 13 Aug 2020 @ 11:40am

        Re: Re:

        There are no longer Morals.
        And as soon as you hear a person declare Anything about them, they are Sooo... WRONG.

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

      • identicon
        David, 14 Aug 2020 @ 8:16am

        Re: Re:

        Posting random smartphone shots is not "moral leadership". They did not likely expect to get punished for it: I mean, they were in the U.S. after all. Not China. There is supposed to be a difference.

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

        • icon
          nasch (profile), 14 Aug 2020 @ 8:43am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Posting random smartphone shots is not "moral leadership".

          No, but posting smartphone shots in protest of unsafe practices by governments and other authorities can be. "I know I'm doing the right thing..." Sounds like she considers it a moral act. Your characterization of these photos as "random" is quite disingenuous.

          There is supposed to be a difference.

          It's less obvious than it should be.

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Essential Reading
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.