Staff at a Vernon high school are dealing with a concerning trend in which photos taken in school bathrooms are being posted on social media.
On Friday Vernon School District supt. Christine Perkins confirmed there is an Instagram count dedicated to posting images of students’ feet and pants from under bathroom stalls at W.L. Seaton Secondary School. The account has 90 followers as of Friday.
Perkins said she and principal Jeff Huggins are aware of the account, adding they are often notified when something potentially hurtful is posted on social media.
While it can be difficult to moderate social media channels, Perkins said in a case such as this, principals will start by identifying students who were following the account and asking them to unfollow. They also try to find out if anyone knows who started the page, though this can be difficult to do.
There will also be a school-wide announcement asking that the posts be removed and pages be taken down.
“From my experience, once students realize they are hurting someone they usually are remorseful and take posts down,” Perkins said.
Another strategy for dealing with a social media issue is to turn it into a teaching moment. Perkins said this can include visits to individual classrooms and speaking to students about the impact of negative Instagram and social media posts, with topics including the use of photos (individual rights and permission), comments, and anonymous posts.
“Often adolescents begin unfollowing pages while these presentations are being made,” said Perkins.