The illegal trend brewing out of student communities on social media

Graphic+Credit%3A+Ethan+Wu

Graphic Credit: Ethan Wu

Jordan Davis and Vaishnavi Josyula

Over the past month, several Instagram accounts have popped up resembling official school productions while posting inappropriate content and even breaking state laws on photographing students. 

The district has been quick to take notice as these accounts rapidly gain followers. These accounts range from posting positive affirmations, incorrectly parked cars, and anonymously sent pictures of students asleep.

According to principal Jacob Duce, the accounts are displaying different variations of the same issue of plug and play.

“The problem is, when these types of things come up, we are struggling with First Amendment rights and these social media companies,” Duce said. 

State law regarding photography also comes into play as Texas is a one party state. 

“What that means is I can take a picture of anyone out on the street without their permission,” Duce said. “Only one party has to consent. If I’m the photographer, I’m the party, I’m consenting.” 

The issue, however, is a lack of consent as the Texas Compulsory Education Law requires all children aged six to 19 to attend school. 

“You don’t consent that you come to school, you’re forced to,” Duce said. “It’s a weird conundrum. Texas says it’s a one party state, and you have freedom of speech, and you can take pictures, but we’re also in a school setting. To me, that’s where it really hits.” 

Some accounts picture alleged queer students on campus and can potentially force them to come out of the closet. 

“That’s something we’ll work on with these accounts… because we have to protect the class and this presumption of outing someone, using the slang term,” Duce said. “[It’s] not really someone’s place to do that on Instagram.”

In addition, an Instagram account by the name of lths sh*tkickers posts pictures of students’ feet in bathroom stalls. However, taking pictures in public bathrooms is illegal in Texas, as it is an invasion of privacy without a person’s acknowledgement.

“There should never be filming in a restroom, whether you’re in a school setting or at the Dallas Mavericks game,” Duce said. “There’s also right to privacy within the stall, and while they’re not in the stall taking a picture, they’re taking a picture of something in the stall, you know, of the feet.”

To combat this situation, Duce said he will share this information with the FISD legal team and communications department to take necessary steps going forward. 

“If we find out who it was, we would follow our student code of conduct of inappropriate distribution of material,” Duce said. “Our initial response is going to the legal team but… there’s a range and I don’t want to get someone that either disportionately impacts the masses or disproportionately impacts the overall operation of the school. If I have to pull teachers from their duty or from class, it has a disproportionate impact. Hopefully, the legal team will work with Instagram and figure out the loophole.”

While all these accounts use the school logo, according to Duce, as long as students are not using it for profit, they are allowed to do so. 

“[However,] with it being anonymous, I hate that there could be a negative perception of our school because of a 14, 15, or 16 year old with poor choice who is misrepresenting us because people’s perceptions oftentimes become their reality,” Duce said. “I don’t like that anyone would mislead the community to believe that collectively we’re something we’re not. I think that [mass reporting these accounts] is a wonderful response as a student-coordinated effort. ” 

While students like some of the accounts, they find the others to be an issue.  

“If they keep popping up and become problematic [they could be a problem], but as of right now, they’re fine,” junior Melia Puga said. “Lths affirmations is my favorite… but the parking one [is pretty bad.]”

Likewise, freshman Jayden Khemlani finds the Lths sh*tkickers account harmful and said the perpetrators should be punished if it’s illegal. 

“I don’t think it’s fair because it disrupts your privacy and makes you feel unsafe for anyone using the bathroom,” Khemlani said.

With over nine accounts discovered so far, more and more seem to pop up weekly. Anyone with information regarding the accounts or anyone involved is suggested to report it to Instagram and FISD. If the student is identified, the problem can be solved much faster. 

Update: As of Jan. 26, some of these accounts have been deleted while the others have been inactive for over a month. Starting second semester, students leaving to the restroom during class are not allowed to take their phone with them.