In the wake of this week's controversy involving free speech, social media, and allegations of filth at one Miami-Dade high school, students at another are reportedly sending out their own pictures of unhygienic conditions. The new photos were taken by students at Miami Palmetto Senior High School, according to Lisa Merkin, who runs the community page Around Pinecrest and received the photos.
"This is what is going on at our public schools," Merkin wrote to New Times. "It is not right. There is not one school that stands out."
Update: After this post was published, several Palmetto students have come forward defending their school. See below for more details.
But John Schuster, a spokesman for Miami-Dade School District, decried students sending photos out through social media, calling such tactics a "disruption." Here's a statement he sent New Times on the new batch of photos:
The school district respects students' rights to free speech, but we will not handle school complaints via anonymous posting of unauthenticated material on social media. These postings, and the copycat postings that follow, cause disruption of the educational environment our educators are providing children every day. There are systems in place to report concerns at schools, and students and staff are informed of them and encouraged to use them.
Here are the photos Merkin sent New Times purporting to show conditions at Palmetto:
On Wednesday, Miami Sunset High principal Lucia Cox abruptly retired amid rampant controversy stemming from student-posted photos of filth at her school, including of moldy juice boxes and a cockroach. The photos went viral on social media, and Cox was criticized by students, alumni, and parents over her handling of the claims.
Update: Several students and alumni have questioned the authenticity of the photos and adamantly defended their school.
"There is an immense amount of good that has happened and IS happening at Palmetto," one junior, Kayla Ladis, wrote to New Times. "Students can be filthy and inconsiderate, but the staff at my school tries their best to make the facility clean and aseptic. My education here is exceptionally advanced and I am very proud to attend Palmetto."
Ladis added that the school's water quality was tested and approved by a science teacher, and offered two more photos of students working with staff from Fairchild Tropical Garden, below:
Know anything more about the alleged Palmetto photos? Email New Times here.