Anonymous Instagram accounts: the new sheriff in town

Vandy+PDA+posts+pictures+of+campus+couples%3B+the+Instagram+handle+is+%40vandy_p_d_a

Used with permission from account owner

Vandy PDA posts pictures of campus couples; the Instagram handle is @vandy_p_d_a

Yness Martinez, Staff Reporter

Like most school administrations, campuses have issues throughout the school year. Over the years, a common way to hear students’ voices was via anonymous forms or formal complaints sent to the administration offices. However, students this year have taken action through a different route. 

Instagram accounts like “Vandy PDA” and “VHS Bees” have emerged in the community’s social media feeds, gaining popularity and traction while addressing some issues the Vandegrift campus is facing.

The goal of the page is to point out people publicly displaying affection at VHS,” the @vandy_p_d_a account admin said. “To hopefully send the message that it makes people uncomfortable.”

The account was created mainly because of lack of staff action. Students expressing discomfort at the PDA, especially during passing periods, were encouraged by the account to submit pictures of couples displaying affection.

“Support is solely from people who aren’t in the photos,” @vandy_p_d_a account admin said. “Those who are part of the problem will not be a problem anymore because of the chance that they might be posted on the account.”

As content continued being posted, the accounts quickly grew. In the first few days after it’s creation, @vandy_p_d_a grew to over 300 followers. Similarly another account boasts over 1,000 followers: VHS Shlumped. Their account is composed of over 300 photos consisting of students sleeping in various locations across campus. Though they refrained from making a comment, their account has gained quite a bit of traction among some exhausted students.

“Yeah, I submitted a photo one time,” one anonymous student said. “It absolutely says something about our school if everyone is this tired.”

Students can be seen sleeping in some truly unique places, including the floor, curbs and even lab tables. However, not every account revolves around the students; some choose to address facility issues, such as the overwhelming bee problem experienced in the courtyard between buildings 1 and 2.

“The target of my account was to play on the severe uptick in bees and wasps at VHS,” @vhsbees account admin said. “I thought it would be a comedic twist on something everyone hates.”

The account made a point to express the dangers with comedic undertones. They said that this is not only a facility issue, but a possible life threatening problem to students that possess bee and wasp allergies.

“Those students likely don’t feel very safe at school,” said @vhsbees. “The bees are everywhere, even inside the buildings on occasion.”

The account owner believes that the page is a good idea because they are spreading awareness while keeping those featured on the account comfortable in making their voices heard.

“I did this not only to gently joke about our school’s faults,” said @vhsbees account admin. “But also to make others aware of the problem so something can hopefully be done.”

Some students argue that the pages dedicated to specific students aren’t benefiting the campus, but instead adding a harsh societal standard to the student body. Some even see it as an extreme obstruction of privacy.

“I feel like it’s completely violating,” said a student who had been featured on the Vandy PDA page. “The pictures are invading [the students’] privacy, which is not okay whatsoever.”

The account admins argue otherwise. They say that by demonstrating campus issues this way they are able to make their voices heard in a more peaceful and unanimous way.

“I think that this account’s existence could be taken the wrong way,” @vandy_p_d_a account admin said. “Most of the negative response is in regards to cyber bullying.”

The account admin said kids might express feeling singled out or picked on. While the admin understands that this is a potential issue, their goal is to bring the point across that PDA on campus makes people uncomfortable in a space where they shouldn’t be. 

“I don’t believe that this is an issue solvable by administrators,” @vandy_p_d_a account admin said. “It’s been shown before that the teens do not take well to rules set by administration.”

For example, an uptick in lack of attendance has proven harmful to many students’ grades, and staff have called them to make up hours and even face disciplinary action. 

“I think this is a much more persuasive measure,” @vandy_p_d_a account admin said. “Teenagers are more willing to listen to their peers because that is the main source of criticism, and I believe that this is more of a wake up call than a couple boring days of ISS.”