Condemning the Confessions: Black Falcons take on hate content

A+series+of+confessions+accounts+dubbed+under+%22Green+Hope+Confessions%22+have+become+notorious+for+spreading+rumors+and+hate+content+amongst+WCPSS+students

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A series of confessions accounts dubbed under "Green Hope Confessions" have become notorious for spreading rumors and hate content amongst WCPSS students

The Green Hope Falcon, Staff

It’s only been three weeks into the start of an unprecedented school year in the midst of unprecedented times, but a new kind of virus has already managed to disseminate amongst the student body. “Green Hope Confessions” — a collective name for a series of Instagram accounts spreading vitriol and harmful rumors — has quickly become notorious for its rapidly growing platform, garnering attention from both students and administration alike. 

I think the internet gets bored, and people look for ways to entertain themselves – sometimes not in the most positive directions,” Mr. Gaw, who teaches AP Computer Science Principles and leads Green Hope’s award-winning hacking and cybersecurity team, the Black Falcons, stated. “Which is a shame, because no matter how much fun it may be for one person, usually there is another person who gets hurt. This [these] account [accounts] in question, however, prompt students to give true confessions…unfortunately real names, or implied names are used. And that’s where the harm is. This account has been linked to a much larger account that has spokes — I guess we can call it spokes —  in a lot of school communities.”

Multiple of the accounts run on a system in which students contribute anonymous “tips”, oftentimes which consist of unverified information about one another. A strategy of following multiple students from across WCPSS high schools combined with such a contribution system has led to the widespread name-recognition of the “confessions” platform. The publishers of the tips — or the account owners — remain unknown. 

Administration has joined Black Falcons and Gaw in condemning the confessions accounts (Green Hope Weekly Messenger)

From @ghhsclassof2024 to Green Hope Confessions 

The confessions ‘spokes’, as Gaw has dubbed them, aren’t the first cases of cyber racism or cyberbullying conducted under the Green Hope name, though. During the 2019-2020 school year, an anonymous group of students ran a Twitter account known as ‘@ghhsclassof2024’, which posted content consisting of hoax threats against certain ethnic populations, hate speech, and re-tweets of figures prominent in extreme right-wing politics. Although @ghhsclassof2024 was removed from Twitter after a heavily reposted thread culminated in a heated Twitter debate amongst students and PTSA members, its foundation — a group of teenagers hidden behind their screens, posting execrable material under the name of the school — seems to hold ground. 

“Well, of course it [cyber racism, cyberbullying] reflects badly [on the student body]. Green Hope’s student body, I’m sure, by and large does not subscribe to that sort of nonsense or that sort of thinking,” Gaw explained. “Students, our kids, our GH kids, should understand that some real pain goes along with being bullied – cyber or otherwise. We as a community should be better than that.” 

Administration recently posted a statement echoing Gaw’s sentiments, stating that faculty members are working to take down “inappropriate Instagram accounts”.

“Families, we ask that you take time to have conversations with your children about online etiquette, about being kind, and SOARing here at Green Hope! Let’s take a note from our Green Hope Black Falcons about being good digital citizens and using our efforts to unite together and take care of each other, instead of [engaging in] unhelpful activities.” 

Student Leaders on Green Hope Confessions 

“It’s just embarrassing, to say the least, seeing dozens of these accounts pop up out of nowhere,” said Green Hope National Honors Society in a condemnation of the accounts. “The name dropping, negativity, tagging people related to drama (fake or not), and overall seeking gossip is so gross and childish. To those involved, do better because there are so many worthwhile things you could contribute your time to.” 

NHS isn’t alone in its stance against the confessions accounts, however popularized they may be. Clubs like True Equality Alliance (T.E.A.) and Model United Nations (GHMUN) also joined in denouncing cyberbullying at Green Hope. 

“To some, the Instagram accounts about Green Hope ‘confessional’ and ‘dramas’ popping up over the past week have been funny, or a release from the stresses of online school,” GHMUN wrote. “But let’s get to the point: this isn’t funny or innocent, this is cyber-bullying at its finest. Perhaps you laughed at a post exposing someone’s playful crush or confession. Perhaps you laughed when someone made a joking threat. But if there’s anything the past few days have taught us, it’s that you never know what private battles people are fighting. These jokes at the expense of someone else’s dignity and privacy aren’t jokes: they’re hurting and can be unfathomably humiliating. Sure, we’re stuck in online school and aren’t seeing each other in person, but that doesn’t give us an excuse to lose empathy. The next time you see one of these accounts, or one of these posts, think before you laugh. What if it was a younger sibling? Or you? I’ve seen enough from my four years to know that Green Hope is better than this.”

Sure, we’re stuck in online school and aren’t seeing each other in person, but that doesn’t give us an excuse to lose empathy.”

— GH Model UN

Green Hope’s True Equality Alliance elucidated on their own views: “Despite our name, TEA — the True Equality Alliance, an intersectional LGBTQ+ roundtable — does not condone these tea/confession pages that are circulating. TEA understands the importance of providing a constructive and supportive environment that fosters student well-being. Additionally, our LGBTQ+ community knows what it’s like to be singled out in front of peers. We never want to see this humiliation take hold of GHHS. Therefore, TEA calls for the deletion of these accounts to build trust and respect within our school.” 

What comes next for Green Hope Confessions?

“Enforcing rules against cyberbullying is a delicate balancing act …what we have to do is change the culture,” Gaw argued. While Gaw states that the sort of consequences the perpetrators will face is “not up to me”, the administration and Black Falcons will continue working together to track down the owner of the accounts.