A Culture That Won’t Be Dominated


Taking charge this past weekend, school administrators along with other students counteracted a series of harassing Twitter accounts with some #LeydenLove.

On Saturday, harmful tweets were being published anonymously, including details–possibly lies–about students’ sexual behavior, negative comments about Leyden sports, and hateful criticism of many others. But these mean tweets were soon met with concerned Leyden students, staff, and parents, who reported the account.

The dean and principal both received multiple emails from students, staff members, parents, and community members. Mr. Jason Markey answered these emails letting people know that the first step should be reporting this Twitter account. Although it took a while, eventually the account was shut down ending this controversial situation. And while there are reports of other accounts with similar actions, they have not gained nearly the follower count of the original.

The school has also discovered the identities of some contributors, and this issue did not go unpunished. Consequences can vary. In fact, there was a conversation with law enforcement regarding the legal status of these tweets. According to Markey, “There were some extremely inappropriate, abusive remarks that were made that impacted other students, impacted our school, so certainly the range could lead from conversation with those student all the way up to a suspension from school.”

But the real story here may be the good behavior that came from these bad decisions. This issue sparked students to do more than simply avoid bullying. Some fought back through the creation of #LeydenLove via the following account: @stop_the_smack.

Mariel L. (East, Senior) Gleanne R. (East, Senior) and Gabi G. (West, Senior), took a step further and designed the LeydenLove page on twitter to take a whole different ‘spin’ on the issue. According to Mariel, the account was created when one of the creators (Gabi) saw what was going on and said, “You know what we should do, we should make an account that does the exact opposite of what the smack account does.” So it seems that #LeydenLove has had a positive impact on the students, and the administrators appreciate students standing up for one another.

Byrne explained that an event like this can’t be prevented, but the way students react can make a difference: “The students were really going after this page, and they came up with their own page to draw attention away from it.” Although Byrne and Markey have seen this type of Twitter accounts for other schools, they were both really pleased how certain Leyden students handled this situation. Byrne attributes this positive reaction to the culture that administrators, such as Markey, and students have contributed to Leyden: “We couldn’t have been more proud of how the students were handling it.”

To those who responded positively, Byrne would “like to thank the students who reached out to us and helped us get to the bottom of this. Again, we are all really proud how the majority of students reacted to this…the majority of feedback that we heard [is that] our kids are sick of this and don’t want this.”

Keep up the #LeydenLove and #Leydenpride!