Queens Principal Threatens Suspension Over Instagram Accounts

Queens Principal Threatens Suspension Over Instagram Accounts

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A Queens high school principal recently threatened to suspend students who followed Instagram accounts with anonymous posts about their classmates. The principal, David Marmor, stated that there were two Instagram accounts in question and that the school was in the process of suspending the student responsible for them. The accounts, which were filled with hateful and bullying content, have since been removed.

In response to the Instagram accounts, a range of “celebratory extracurricular activities” at Francis Lewis High School were canceled, including a senior trip, prom, and pep rally. However, the principal announced that these activities would be allowed to resume now that the accounts have been taken down.

This incident highlights the ongoing struggle many schools face in managing students’ online behavior, specifically with social media platforms where anonymous posts can lead to cyberbullying. While the principal’s threat to suspend any student who followed the Instagram accounts may seem extreme, it is important to address harmful online behavior.

The city’s Education Department supported the principal’s actions, signaling to other schools that strong measures to curb students’ online posts may be tolerated. Some members of the school community also expressed their support, as they have witnessed the negative effects of social media accounts that promote bullying.

However, legal experts argue that disciplining students for following certain Instagram accounts could violate their constitutional right to free speech. As one professor of educational leadership and law at the University of Connecticut stated, punishing students for mere “following” is going too far and infringes on their First Amendment rights.

As students at Francis Lewis High School voiced their opinions, a majority believed that the principal’s response was an overreaction. While they acknowledged that some posts may have been hurtful, they felt that canceling student activities punished those who had nothing to do with the more harmful posts.

In conclusion, this incident brings the issue of cyberbullying and online behavior to the forefront of school discussions. Finding the balance between protecting students from harmful content and respecting their right to free speech is a challenge that schools continue to face in the digital age.

Chalkbeat New York
– Education Department spokesperson