The Student News Site of Summit High School

The Summit Pinnacle

The Student News Site of Summit High School

The Summit Pinnacle

The Student News Site of Summit High School

The Summit Pinnacle

The Resurrection of Summit Confessions

What comes out when there are no consequences to speaking your mind

Along with posts of senior photos, slideshows of cute pets and photo documentation of family reunions, many Summit students scrolled through their Instagram feeds towards the end of this summer to find posts slandering other students, throwing hate about their private lives, appearance or intellect.

Summit Confessions was back, but much worse. 

The now deleted Instagram account, @shsconfessionsnew, claimed to give students an anonymous place to share “confessions,” but the information sent in by students typically didn’t involve the sender at all. Most posted submissions shamed other students for their weight, appearance, intellect or alleged sexual activity—many with first and last names left in. 

An Instagram user only needed to follow a link to an anonymous Google Form and their confession could be posted on the account. The person running the account (also unsurprisingly anonymous) would only receive the confessor’s grade and confession, with no other identifying information. 

Behind the shroud of anonymity, anything was fair game.

As the posts came flooding out, harshly criticizing one student after another, it made readers increasingly bold with what they sent in. This vicious cycle only ended with the deletion of the account after it posted a confession detailing a student’s intention to detonate a bomb inside of Summit. The threat that was taken so seriously that the FBI got involved and the “anonymous” sender is now facing charges for a class C felony.

What is it about online anonymity that drives people to these extremes? Free from accountability, students drag their classmates’ names through the mud, shaming people they’ve gone to school with for years. Post after post is shared and when no one is held accountable for their actions, a student doesn’t see an issue with sending in their intention to blow up the building.

One reason that this Instagram account is more malicious than the past Summit Confessions page, popular in the past two years, is because it didn’t blur names out. The consensus of nearly everyone who knew about both accounts was that the one instituted at the beginning of this year was much more outwardly spiteful. Where the last page was riddled with nonsensical rants and complaints about Summit itself, the reincarnation is a concentrated cesspool of unabashed callouts.

Here was a perfect opportunity for private grievances and petty drama to be broadcasted online for a decent portion of the school to see, with the instigator bearing no consequences.

Past followers of the account estimate that at least three hundred students were following it by the time it got deleted. Every time something was posted on the confessions account, word spread like wildfire—because even if you didn’t follow the account, chances were you had a friend that did, a friend who had a friend that followed it or a friend with a friend who knows a friend…and so on. In a school of two thousand, it’s not hard for rumors to fly. 

There’s also something to be said about how disproportionately girls were targeted on the account. Students who followed the account confirmed that there were a large number of posts “exposing” female students for sexual activity, many of them labeling these teenagers as “whores” or “sluts.” The majority of negative comments about appearance were also directed at girls, many outright fat-shaming certain students or picking apart the way they present themselves.

Summit junior Alicia Watson saw the posted confessions negatively targeting girls more than other demographics.

“If that’s all that’s getting posted about you, you have to assume that that’s all that people are saying about you,” said Watson.

Despite the negatives, there are some upsides to having a place to “confess” where you don’t need to be worried about your words being traced back to you. Among the many posts throwing shade at other students were real confessions, accounts of sexual assault or similarly personal issues. Senior Hunter McGrane pointed out how student run pages can act as a catch-net for students’ dark thoughts, as they feel more safe expressing personal issues somewhere unassociated with the school district.

“For a lot of people the confessions account might have been their only outlet to raise awareness that these things were happening because it’s really hard to talk about sexual assault, stuff like that,” McGrane said.

More pressingly, McGrane noticed the trend among recent shootings where the perpetrator publishes their intent for violence on the internet prior to the shooting.

“If we can have something that acts as an early network for hearing that stuff and being able to respond to it quicker—which happened, even though it was a joke, on Monday—I think that’s super important because if we can figure out a way to get word of these things happening before they happen, then we’ll be able to respond,” McGrane said. 

However, allowing students to send in any unkind and negative thing they choose takes away from the confessions that express important issues. Student run confession accounts, in their current state, deal out a heavy negative impact on both individual students and our (already less than stellar) reputation as a school that is disproportionate to the amount of people they possibly help. 

Watson, who had unfounded rumors about her private life posted on the account, even had people she wasn’t very close with approach her and ask if what the post alleged was true. Watson didn’t let the rumors get to her, but she could see how the more personal attacks about others’ appearance and general behavior could.

“For some people, [the posts are] attacking the way that they look [and] the way that they do things. We’re teenagers, we care what people think even though we say we don’t,” said Watson. “People are self conscious, people are insecure and stuff like this is just feeding into it.”

Student Body President Max Himstreet, also a recipient of multiple hateful confession posts, sees how accounts like this reflect badly on the morals and integrity of Summit students.

“The fact that people have that shroud of anonymity and are so willing to throw their friends, their classmates—people that they’ve known for years and years—under the bus because they feel like no one’s gonna find out says a lot about us,” said Himstreet.

For the well being of Summit students as well as the reputation of the school, allowing rumors to be anonymously broadcasted to a large percentage of the student body is not the best way to provide struggling students with an outlet. As high school students, there is already so much pressure to do well and fit in, and giving a place for students to bully others anonymously is only creating a worse school environment and damaging the lives of other students.

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About the Contributor
Jesse Radzik
Jesse Radzik, Features Editor

Features Editor Jesse Radzik is just like your average grandmother, if said grandmother managed to avoid bone degeneration enough to play varsity tennis. She greatly enjoys reading in little nooks, doddering around on slow river walks, has a great affinity for finding second hand knick knacks, and gains genuine joy from the simple act of birdwatching. Jesse also likes to write. She always writes too much, but people seem to find the end products half decent. See if you agree.

Comments (4)

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  • L

    Loren RadzikOct 24, 2023 at 9:42 am

    This is a terrifying lens on the world at large right now

  • A

    avery julia surianoOct 23, 2023 at 9:38 pm

    sko jesse!

  • R

    RamseyOct 13, 2023 at 2:23 pm

    Beautiful work jess

  • K

    KiktyOct 10, 2023 at 9:25 pm

    Nice work, Jessie