From suspended to unsuspended.
Hannah Watters, a student at North Paulding High School in Dallas, Georgia, inspired by John Lewis’s getting in that “good trouble” posts packed halls on the first day of school.
Speaking with CNN’s Laura Coates on Thursday, she wanted to share what school looked like and how it didn’t look much different than before. She snapped a picture of crowded hallways and unleashed it on social media.
The result? Instant viral.
Watters said “I was concerned for the safety of everyone in that building and everyone in the county because precautions that the CDC and guidelines that the CDC has been telling us for months now, weren’t being followed,”.
That packed hallway was the reality inside of North Paulding High School in Dallas, Georgia.
And what was the school’s administration’s response?
To suspend her.
Watters said she was suspended over the photo and that the school said she violated three conduct policies: using her phone during instruction time, using her phone during school hours for social media and filming students, and posting on a social media platform.
However, students in grades 9-12 are exempt from the phone ban and Watters said, and she didn’t post the photo until school was over.
Watters admits breaking the posting other students rule, but doesn’t regret it.
“I’d like to say this is some good and necessary trouble,” Watters said. “My biggest concern is not only about me being safe, it’s about everyone being safe because behind every teacher, student and staff member there is a family, there are friends, and I would just want to keep everyone safe.”
In a letter to the community, Superintendent Brian Otott said the photo was taken out of context, writing: “Class changes at the high school level are a challenge when maintaining a specific schedule. It is an area we are continuing to work on in this new environment to find practicable ways to further limit students from congregating. Students are in this hallway environment for just a brief period as they move to their next class. … There is no question that the photo does not look good. … Wearing a mask is a personal choice, and there is no practical way to enforce a mandate to wear them.”
Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan was asked about the photo and said school districts would need to “make adjustments” and called it a “work in progress.”
“Just like a business has to earn the trust and the confidence of their customers, I think schools are going to have to earn the trust and confidence of the parents and the students,” Duncan said. “It’s a work in progress, and we’re going to do the best we possibly can.”
Hannah Watters good and necessary trouble started that adjustment process.