Story at a glance

  • Amid a national debate on reopening schools, a Georgia teenager shared a picture of a hallway crowded with students without face masks on social media.
  • Nine people have since tested positive for coronavirus at the high school.
  • The teen says other students are now threatening her over the posts.

With the reach of social media, any user can make national news. Now, a Georgia teenager is discovering both the power and the dangers of citizen journalism. 


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North Paulding High School sophomore Hannah Watters told CNN that after sharing a photo of a crowded hallway, she, her friends and family have received screenshots of group chats with threatening language against her, she told CNN, including, "I know where this girl lives," "We're going to jump every girl named Hannah in the tenth grade," and, "Hannah is going to have a rough day at school on Monday." The photograph went viral amid a national debate over the safety of reopening schools during the coronavirus pandemic. 

In Georgia, where schools have already reopened, Paulding County School District encouraged students and staff members to wear face coverings, but did not require them. After at least six students and three faculty members at the school contracted COVID-19, the building was closed for cleaning. Watters said she was suspended along with another student who shared similar photos, but said the suspension had been "deleted" after public outcry.

"I feel like a lot of teachers have my back because they know how dangerous it is going to school. But I know that a lot of the kids that I go to school with, I've already gotten backlash for it, threats and things like that," Watters told CNN. "I know I'm doing the right thing and it's not going to stop me from continuing doing it. But it is concerning, especially since it's a lot of the people I go to school with, people I've known for years now, that are threatening me."


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Published on Aug 10, 2020