In late October, the infamous but short-lived Instagram account @BlakeNoMaskers was terminated. Following its deletion, several more gimmicky accounts flooded from the market like the new heads of a Hydra. Just as with no maskers, these accounts focus on a single goal, showcasing various compromising moments in the lives of Blake students.
Of course, accounts like these are nothing new. Any high school student will be able to recount the myriad of posts, accounts, and channels on every social media platform on the planet dedicated to school fights. These accounts very often featured comedic snapshots of students engaged in funny, albeit, questionable behavior, and it wasn’t bad at first. Sleeping in class, neglecting your mask, or taking part in the usual idiotic activities every student has come to know, would all land you a spot in their latest post or story. Again, this shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s spent five minutes online. All of those clips that make up the hour-long compilations had to have come from somewhere. Naturally, this school exclusivity wasn’t unique to Blake. Schools all across the county and even the country have had thousands of similar accounts all with similar focus.
Problems would once again arise just as they always do. Surprisingly enough, not everyone wants to have their face plastered and mocked online for hundreds of their peers to point and laugh at. And with the chosen specialities of some of these accounts, it was a deadly game of hide and seek to avoid getting caught in 4k, or rather a crisp 480p. Students clashing in the timely onslaught of shifting in the congested corridors to make it to class on time did not have the sharp eyes to avoid the greasy mouthbreathers who’d jump at any opportunity. Nobody wants to have pictures of themselves wearing an unflattering outfit or to be caught with their mask down for even a second.
“I think they’re getting severely out of hand. It’s not fun walking around school not knowing what account you might get posted on because someone doesn’t like the shoes you’re wearing or because you didn’t have time to put on a nice outfit in the morning,” says senior Hartley Pelton. “In some cases it’s just anonymous public bullying of people. It’s a really awful way to impose fear in people who might be self conscious, have anxiety, or for those who choose to keep their information off the internet.”
“The accounts of Blake Instagram and other social media’s are kind of stupid. It might just be because I’m so paranoid I might show up there that I feel like I have to keep an eye out for myself,” laments freshman Eli. “I’ve gotten so paranoid when people take out their phones around me while I’m eating because I’m afraid I’m going to show up there. When they do eventually all go away, I’ll be really relieved. They actually make life more stressful for people that are having photos taken of them without any consent.”
That’s one of the major issues with these accounts, the lack of consent. To be fair, some of these accounts are based on self submissions, while others don’t post pictures at all. As stated before, not everyone wants to have pictures of themselves posted online, especially if they don’t know who took said picture when.
Another problem comes with the nature of some of the pictures and confessions publicly shown. A lot of these can be considered legally questionable at best, and some are outright illegal. The notorious and frankly disgusting @BlakePoopers account was widely known to photograph people’s feet from behind the stall doors whilst they…pooped. However, this is technically illegal in the state of Maryland. The law states, “it is illegal to use hidden cameras in places where people expect privacy—these places include bathrooms or dressing rooms.” This account has since been terminated, and rightfully so. That’s just revolting.
Furthermore, students themselves have made very serious confessions on these accounts. These go beyond the usual empty threats of violence and anonymous screaming matches seen all over the school as it is, but accusations of sexual assault, drug dealing, and extortion were mainstays. @BlakeConfessions, one of the biggest of these accounts, has since been struck down. The arguments between confession messages publicly and proudly plastered personal strife because anonymous combatants verbally going for the throats of their foes. Obviously, some or most of these are false. but the nature of some of the confessions demand they be taken seriously. It’s all harmless fun until someone has to file a police report and parents get involved. Whoever that Hunter guy is, he must be popular.
On November 18th, Mr.Sinclar responded to the controversy saying “The posts on these accounts have led to student conflict, disruption to the learning environment, and some students’ fear of being in school. This is not the environment that we are known for and pride ourselves on here at James Hubert Blake High School and these actions will not be tolerated.” His response echoes the sentiments of many parents who are concerned about these accounts and the impact they’ve had on students’ learning environment. Indeed, some parents have always been concerned about social media and the rippling effects it’s had on students. Sinclair finished his response by linking a form to report bullying that can be found on the school website.
Not every account is this dire, however. The account @BlakeAffirmations has become relatively popular for poking fun at the comically unfortunate everyday happenings of American high school life. @BlakeFloorFood is dutifully dedicated to documenting any filthy foods found on our feculent floors, which is odd but honestly harmless. @Blake.Parking portrays peabained primitive people perpetrating their poor parking practices, with license plates being censored. @BlakeNoMaskers has picked up the torch and continued the tradition of documenting and displaying the students at Blake who still fail to wear their masks after nearly two years set by its predecessor, and this time they know not to post teachers.
As popular as these accounts proved to be with Blake students, they are already dying out. The ones that focus on more contentious topics are continually sniped before they can fester and is anyone really going to be hurt by trampled food on the floor or annoyingly cute couples? Probably not.