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


  1. 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.


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.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
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.