THHS Confessions Page suddenly closes after request from deans
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By Isabelle Guillaume and Amberly Khan, staff writers
After its two-month run since the beginning of the school year, the recently renewed Townsend Harris Confessions Page has announced its sudden closure. The page, which was widely popular among students, is to be shut down due to the number of inappropriate posts among the confessions.
According to one of the Confessions administrators, dean Robin Figelman told the admins to delete the page due to the 18+ content of some of the students’ confessions. For example, several confessions that were posted express graphic ideas concerning individuals in the THHS community. “We’re upset and we don’t agree that the page has to be taken down,” said one of the admins. “But we’re not here to fight the [THHS] administration; we’ll do what they tell us.”
According to Ms. Figelman, a complaint caused her to start an investigation on the page. “Some teacher came to me to tell me that the confessions page had inappropriate comments about teachers and other students in the school, and that they were distraught by what was being put up there,” she stated. Following this, she found out who the admins were and had them delete the page in her office.
Despite Ms. Figelman’s demand, there is still hope for the future of the page, according to one of the admins. “We might be able to keep it up if we had strict rules to follow,” they stated. The team would have to take their method of censorship up a notch, therefore not posting anything that would harm students’ feelings as well as those confessions with mature content.
While causing an immediate response from the administrators, the deans’ requirement of the page’s closure sparked some confusion in students. Junior Shirley Xiong commented, “This was a way for students to just express themselves. If the deans shut this down for “18+ content,’ then I think the deans should tell us exactly what that means to clarify things that we may or may not post on the confessions page.”
In response to the mention of this idea, Ms. Figelman referred to the social media guidelines on the THHS website. “It clearly states there should be no bullying; whether it’s by student to student or student to teacher,” she said.
The requested closure of the page has been deemed as a harsh reaction to the regular sharing of personal and expressive content by students, an opportunity that they consider a privilege. “It’s just that the confessions page was made by the students for the students. It was a way to let students in our community freely express their thoughts without being judged,” explained junior Isabel Laus.
The confessions page of Townsend Harris was meant to serve as a platform for Harrisites to anonymously express both sentimental and comedic thoughts with other students. A number of submissions, ranging from rants about school to pleas for advice to inside jokes, were shared daily; and the collection became a common discussion topic among students. “I was pretty upset about it because the confessions page was a great source of entertainment, and I know a lot of people who really liked venting about life problems, homework, or just random stuff on the page,” expressed sophomore Lucas Ayala. “While I do think that some of the stuff sent was outright inappropriate, it’s not fair that the whole page should be shut down because of a few immature people.”
With the absence of the page, students must either find a new means of widescale yet comfortable communication among the entire school, or be willing to make compromises and significant changes to the quality and type of content that is publicly posted on any future confession pages.
The Confessions administrators posted a short farewell message on October 30 at 6:46 PM. Its finish read, “We’re sorry to go so soon, but it’s been a good run, and we hope we made your nights a little better while we could.”
“Social media is getting everybody in trouble these days,” said Ms. Figelman. “No matter how much you think it is private, there’s a way to find out about it. So all we ask is that they [the students] keep it clean.”