Snapping behind bars

Snapping behind bars

Madison Gomez , Reporter

Sitting in class, sophomore Khua Thang let his mind wander. He remembered that Snapchat has a feature to create a story that almost anyone could post on. Seeing how it could be a place for people to post how they feel whenever they wanted, Thang decided to create a story for SHS, which he titled “Prison.”

“I was bored, and it came to mind,” Thang said. “ Anyone can add to it. It kind of connects us together in the school.”

All Snapchat users are able to create these geofenced stories, which means anyone around that area can view or post to the story as long as they have mutual friends with the creator, and at SHS, students have taken advantage of the stories’ function. The “Prison” story allowed students to rant about the school, among other things, hidden from administrators’ view.

Assistant principal Andrew Ashcraft didn’t know about the story, nor had he seen it before talking with the Journal, but overall, he doesn’t see it as an entirely negative expression.

The posts on the story included students complaining about having to go to school, doing homework and telling people to “add them,” meaning friend them on their account. Ashcraft wants the students to be able to express themselves, but the platform does have the potential to be used in a hurtful manner, which could lead to the administration having to take action.

Ashcraft says he wasn’t offended by the title even though it has a bad connotation to it. He knows that students are going to be posting negative things about the school but should be more effective in projecting their criticism.

“You should always vent to the person who could help solve the problem,” Ashcraft said. “Venting to their peers and not to their class officers or to a booster club member or a teacher advocate, that’s what disappoints me.”

Problems can arise when students put negative posts on social media and it affects their peers, but the way administration will handle each disturbance will differ for each student.

Typically the first offense will be learning opportunities, says Ashcraft, since taking students out of school immediately doesn’t allow them time to think about what they did. By providing students a “lighter” punishment, students have the opportunity to prove their action does not represent who the student is.

If the behavior continues and another offense is committed, then it will lead to a degree of suspension, alternative class placement or alternative school placement.

Regarding student athletes and other extracurricular students, Ashcraft believes that they are held to a higher standard than others because they represent the school. When a situation occurs that draws administrators’ attention, they will make the involved student’s extracurricular coaches or sponsors aware of the situation and let them handle it from there, unless the situation calls for more.

“Sometimes it’s less of a consequence from us and more of a team consequence because that’s what makes them understand they can’t do this (action), or can’t continue to do this if (they) want to do this sport,” Ashcraft said.

According to Ashcraft, people will always have something bad to say, and even if they would take the “Prison” story away somehow, the students would find another way to conduct acts like that.

“There’s probably been bad things in the past, there will continue to be bad things,” Ashcraft said. “But when the rubber meets the road, kids show up here and do a nice job and are kind to one and other and, for the most part, are very tolerant of each other.”