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Yik Yak storms Staples

Throughout the school day, students were downloading and using the app Yik Yak, which according to app’s description in the App Store was intended as, “a local bulletin board for your area by showing the most recent posts from other users around you.”

Yet students have been anonymously posting messages targeting other students as well as teachers, despite the app’s “Rules & Info” page stating that it is not to be used to bully or target other “yakers” and, “yakes should not join a herd until they are mature enough, so no one under college age should be on Yik Yak.”

The anonymous posts which have been described as “vulgar” by many students range from racist insults, to sexual comments, to random rumors going around school.

“I can see how some people might be amused by it, but i think that it is easy to be used as an outlet for cyber bullying,” Nathan Francis ’14 said. “It’s something that wasn’t intended for use in a high school. It is inappropriate to be used here.”

Yik Yak, which became available for download from the App Store on Nov. 5, 2013, is designed to prevent users from posting while at middle or high schools as the message, “It looks like you are using this at a high school or middle school which is not allowed. Sending and reading messages is disabled,” appears on the user’s screen when in Staples. However, many have been able to get around the app’s block while at Staples.

“I think that’s it’s petty and shallow that people are wasting time writing these mean comments about other people,” Katie Zhou ’14 said.

The entire school could be seen with their heads down scrolling through their Yik Yak feeds throughout the day. Griffin Thrush ’15, who has had a few posts written about him on Yik Yak,  yelled across the library, “You can yak about me all you want [expletive]!” Thrush continued on to say that people had “crossed the line” with many of their posts and that it all “escalated way too quickly.”

Students and teachers were so upset by the app that Dodig sent an email to teachers urging them to ignore the app, and he also made a school-wide announcement.  While many of the postings fall under the category of cyberbullying, Dodig said in his announcement that, “There’s basically nothing I can do about it. Number one it is anonymous – number two, it probably falls under free speech.”

In an interview, Dodig acknowledged that by telling people not to use the app it would be like “whistling in the wind.” However in his announcement he still encouraged students to avoid it. “I urge you, at least not to look on the site. Don’t go on the site,” he said. “I’ve heard about several people today … and they’re in tears. Don’t look at it. If you don’t see it, it won’t bother you.”

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About the Contributors
Bailey Ethier
Bailey Ethier, Editor-in-Chief
Editor-in-Chief Bailey Ethier ’15 has self-described himself in one word as “Texan.” Growing up in Texas, Ethier dreamed of being a professional athlete. Soon enough, however, he realized he didn’t have the athletic ability to do so, and turned to the next best thing, in his opinion: journalism. When he moved to Westport before ninth grade, he decided to join Inklings given the fact that he enjoyed a seventh grade project on sports broadcasting. As a sophomore, Ethier was a Web Opinions Editor, and was then a News Editor as a junior. He is ready to lead Inklings as Editor-in-Chief this year, and is fully committed to the paper. “I absolutely love this paper,” Ethier said. Deeply committed to journalism and hoping to pursue it in the future, Ethier is constantly trying to improve his journalistic skills. This summer, he attended a journalism program at Columbia University in New York City. He then headed to Texas for his eighth year at Camp Champions summer camp in Marble Falls, Texas, completing a three year senior camper program. During his senior camper program, he learned many valuable lessons, including how to lead by example. He hopes to carry his leadership at camp to Inklings this coming year. Ultimately, Ethier hopes to accomplish much during his final year on Inklings. “When people think of highly acclaimed newspapers, I want them to think of The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Inklings.”
Sophia Hampton
Sophia Hampton, News Editor
Sophia Hampton ’15 can’t quite decide what she wants to do mainly because she wants to do everything. “I can’t tell you what I want to do,” she said, “Because it’s going to change.” Hampton described how, in the past, her varied ambitions ranged from being an editor of Vogue, to being owner of a restaurant, to even being a member of the Peace Corps. Now, however, she has become fixated on another career. After a five week journalism course at Northwestern University over the summer, Hampton decided to take the parts she loved best about journalism- connecting with people through interviews and talking about important issues- and use them it construct her new life plan. With lively passion, she detailed how she would love to be a lawyer. She discussed how she thinks it’s very similar to journalism, since they both would allow her to uncover the truth and “give a voice to the voiceless.” Of course, with Hampton’s ambition, she wastes no time getting started. When she wanted to own a restaurant, she became president of the culinary club.  So when she wanted to become a lawyer, she took up a summer internship at a law firm right after her journalism program. But she playfully acknowledges that her dreams have changed before, and makes sure to add, “Right now I am so down to be a lawyer, but don’t be surprised if you find me in 30 years and I’m a marine biologist.”  

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