By Marla Terminel
As we approach the end of an everlasting semester, the changing seasons are accompanied by an even greater conflict, which involves hundreds of Pueblo High School students as well as faculty being harassed on the internet.
Dozens of social media accounts have surfaced on platforms such as Instagram, where nonconsensual photos are being posted of students at school.
“It [posting nonconsensual images on the internet] isn’t new,” said assistant principal Ms. Kathryn Gunnels. “Since the beginning of social media, we have seen these forms of harassment, and to the students [making the accounts], it’s harmless, but they don’t know that what they’re doing is against the law.”
Although some of the accounts showcase images of vandalism and public property, others exclusively target students by posting photos of them asleep in class, eating or using the restroom.
“I heard that the accounts started with ‘fan pages’ of [Principal] Mr. Frank Rosthenhausler,” said music teacher, Mr. Jesus Jacquez. “There are so many of them now, and I don’t think this is a battle the school should have to fight.”
Many accounts have already vanished off the social media platforms per the request of administration, but some have remained active and continue to post photos of students and staff.
Senior Erycka Morales said, “As someone who has been posted on one of the accounts, I see how some people are uncomfortable being posted without their permission. I know that most of the accounts will delete a picture if you ask them to.”
Gunnels added that as of now, Tucson Police Department is being involved in the investigation. No student has been caught, but administration suspects that majority of the accounts are ran by the same group of underclassmen.
“We [administration] are starting by requesting the deletion of these accounts.” said Gunnels. “Normal efforts are not working, so we will contact Instagram if the issue persists—and punishment may go as far as expulsion.”
Many of the accounts are already starting to disappear from the platforms, but administration is actively working to find out who runs the accounts so they could be taken down as long as they are not being taken down anonymously.
“We live in a digital world where it is inevitable at this point where you’ll end up in a picture,” added Jacquez. “We have already seen the behavioral issues this year, especially coming from the freshman class. I’m just worried that if the school continues to fight this, more content than necessary will be taken down over the bad choices of others.”