A high school freshmen seminar meant to be a gathering of friendly introductions took a turn for the worse when students were invited to send anonymous texts through their phones for display on a giant theater-sized screen.
What could possibly go wrong?
According to ABC 13 News, just about everything.
Instead of sending innocuous introductions about themselves, the ninth-graders from Houston’s Memorial High School took immediate advantage of the technology to post sarcastic, lewd and sometimes racist and sexual comments.
Some of the tamer comments local news outlets were able to show included:
“Miley Cyrus for president”
“Hitler was a good guy”
“Vaping saved my life”
“Someone should get fired for this idea”
But the comments only went downhill from there as the competition between students over who could come up with the most outrageous post took fire.
Many parents, and especially students, couldn’t understand what school officials were thinking.
“I guess there’s a generation gap thing going on there,” one student told ABC 13.
While faculty and some of the student body were shocked by the comments that local news reports claimed were too racy for TV, some are brushing it off as “kids will be kids.”
“It was a bunch of kids trying to get attention,” senior Rachel Robertson told ABC 13 News. “It’s just like the crazier stuff they can put up there, the better.”
Another parent agreed.
“They had an opportunity to type up a bunch of ridiculous things that were going to go up on the big screen and they took it,” said one parent. “They are in the ninth grade, what else were they going to do?”
But many parents say they are disturbed by the worst of the comments, and Principal Lisa Weir distributed a letter doing damage control:
Weir’s letter reads in part:
…This was a teachable moment for all of us. We assumed the best of our students, and when some of them let us down, we responded. As I told freshman parents in the email to them that day, raising up this next generation of young people, especially in the age of social media, is a daunting task, but together, we can make a difference.
Because the comments were anonymous students have not been singled out for punishment, but the freshman class is going to be required to attend meetings to discuss the incident, ABC 13 reported.
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