Snapchat has gained extreme popularity in the teenage population as it is an outlet where individuals can take pictures and send them to their friends for a very limited amount of time, in seconds. The popularity of this app can be most likely attributed to the fast and easy communication that our modern world finds so useful and satisfying today. Previously, Snapchat allowed users to send pictures individually to their friends or post pictures to a “story.” These stories were only able to be viewed by mutual friends, but more recently, Snapchat has released an update that has had some destructive effects within Jefferson Township High School. The new update allows users to post to a public story entitled “Our Story.” On this platform, when an individual assigns the story to a specific area such as JTHS, all people in that area can contribute to the story and view it.
A public story was allegedly recently created that centered around the high school. It began with students innocently posting pictures of themselves, yet quickly escalated to taking pictures/videos of their friends and even teachers. This alleged incident seems to have raised many questions: Is this a newsworthy topic? Is this situation a big deal? In addition to these, a more ethical question was raised: can someone post a picture of another without permission? Specifically at JTHS, this incident has allegedly caused more than six students to be suspended for posting videos of their teachers without permission. As suspension is a serious punishment for many, several heated opinions resulted from the incident.
In a nonscientific poll conducted by a student, it has been determined that the majority of students interviewed believe that this situation is “not a big deal” and that the administration is being “over dramatic.” Most students seem to believe that it is their right to take pictures of whoever they want and do whatever they want with those photos. Although these opinions are strong, the outspoken students have agreed that there should be some limits to what photos can be taken. They see issues in taking pictures in areas such as the locker rooms and they do see serious problems with taking pictures of teachers.
Teachers interviewed seemed to be very passionate about this issue, as they are the ones being personally affected by the new Snapchat update. Some teachers conveyed that they are against videos being taken of them because those can very easily be taken out of context. If a viewer is not in the class and does not understand what is being discussed, when Snapchat’s maximum of 10 seconds of the lesson are recorded, many will take what was said without knowing all of the information.
Dr. Timothy Plotts, principal of JTHS, declined to comment on specific issues related to the alleged incident, but said via email that no changes have been made to the district’s Personal Electronic Device policy.