Zach Long, News Editor, Senior

Social media has a very controlling presence and influence on the current generation of high school students. That being said, when one decides to post almost anything on social media, they must think about how it is going to be viewed by others. The recent incident regarding a Snapchat post by a student received immense backlash and concerns about safety for Pelham’s students. Obviously, the student that created the Snapchat post did not think any serious repercussions or consequences would result because of it. Definitely not a suspension for multiple months.

The parents of the student released a statement on the Moms of Pelham Facebook page to help clear up misinformation and rumors, and primarily to state that the post was never intended to threaten the safety of students. 

“There was no real or intended threat to the High School or the community at large, no mention of violence or vandalism, no weapon or violent imagery, and no mention of any groups or individuals. What the community saw were photographs taken of only a portion of a Snapchat message my son created for a small group of friends.” stated the message. 

On November 1, the date of the incident, I remember whispers and images of the Snapchat post being shared amongst students. Personally, never once did I feel in any way threatened by these images or rumors. I had faith in our school district and believed that the situation would be defused correctly. That being said, if you did feel threatened or unsafe that is not an unreasonable response in any way. I do believe that the collective response by students and families was a complete overreaction. 

Unfortunately, the impact of the post on the community was far different than the intended purpose. The student wanted to convey his “creativity” through artwork and photography. He posted these photos on what he believed was a safe platform. Intention and impact are two sides of the same coin, and I cannot say which one is more important. I cannot argue that how people were impacted by the event was wrong. If you felt threatened, you felt threatened.

It may be naive, but at the end of the day no one was hurt, no one was injured, and no one, seriously, had to worry about their safety. However, what is true is that the student who tried to express his imagination is now receiving a severe and in my opinion, unjust, punishment. Regardless of how you were impacted by this event, after close inspection of the intent of the student it is obvious there was no foul play.

This situation specifically highlights the idea that intent is more important than impact. Yes, the impact made by the student’s foolish actions resulted in panic, however, he never intended for this to be the case. His intentions should at least be taken into consideration before providing a punishment.

Ultimately, we should use this experience as a learning lesson. I urge students to always think about what they are posting before doing so. No matter what you post, where you post it, or who can see it, always think of how it can be perceived and always remember that posts are almost never permanently erased.