North Paulding High School in Dallas, Georgia reversed the suspension of a 15-year-old student who tweeted a picture of students crowded into corridors that quickly went viral, according to the student.
“I was pleasantly surprised,” Hannah Watters said, adding that the school called this morning to let her family know that the suspension was dropped.
The news comes just days after the high school said she was suspended for sharing a photo and video on Twitter showing students, many of whom did not wear masks, packed shoulder to shoulder in high school halls.
Watters said Paulding High School suspended her for using her phone without permission at school, using her social media phone during school hours and posting pictures of minors without their consent.
“They disciplined me for things that everyone does at that school,” she said. “The difficulty of it was unnecessary.”
In a statement to NBC’s “TODAY” show, the school said they were “aware of the problems” and “are gathering facts about the situation and will address the issue in accordance with district policies and regulations.”
Paulding County School District Superintendent Brian Otott also addressed the incident in an open letter after the photographs began circulating, saying the photos were taken out of context while acknowledging that “there is no doubt that the photo did not see Good.”
“According to the COVID-19 protocols we have adopted, class changes like this can happen, especially in a high school with more than 2,000 students,” Otott wrote in the letter, noting that the situation is in line with Georgia Department of Education guidelines. recommend schools “limit student assembly during transitions to the extent practicable.”
Otott wrote that the school would work to further reduce congestion while noting that “students are in this hall environment for only a short period when they move to their next class.”
Critics on social media obscured the images and questioned the school’s security measures for coronavirus.
“I had my confidence in North Paulding that I would get a safe education, and this was nowhere near as safe as I thought it would be,” Watters said, adding that the school would be held accountable.
Watters captions a photo in a tweet with “Day two at North Paulding High School. It’s just as bad. We were stopped because it was stuck. We’re close enough to the point where I was pressured. … This is not ok. Not to mention the 10% mask rate. “
She also published a video of many students who were not socially distanced during a “shared dismissal.”
Paulding County School District started the fall semester on Monday and offered digital and personal classes. However, students are not required to wear face masks at school; it is only encouraged.
North Paulding High School Principal Gabe Carmona did not immediately respond to NBC News’ request for comment.
Watters said schools are responsible for caring for students, faculty and guardians, adding that she would feel much safer if masks were required.
“They put so many lives at risk, not to mention the children’s lives,” she said. “That’s not how I want them to be shut down immediately, I want precautions.”