YouTube at AHS gets banned forever

To students at Ames High, YouTube is just another means of entertainment – it provides quality home videos of people singing badly or performing stupid stunts for the camera. But when a video surfaced containing depictions of armed students in Ames High, the administration had to intervene. Cellular Mission was a Perspectives in Media project that featured a team of students breaking into the school, battling against “Rent-a-Cops” with facsimile guns. Normally, the Ames Community School District has a no-tolerance policy for weapons or fake weapons, but in this case, an exception was made. “We got permission to film it at night when no one was around,” senior Doug Warren said. “We warned the janitors and put up signs that said what we were doing.” However, the film’s appearance on YouTube was unacceptable to the administration. “If it was just for a class, that would be fine,” Associate Principal Chris Paulson said. “But when it shows up on YouTube for the whole world to see, it becomes a problem.” The film’s portrayal of guns inside the high school, which was identifiable by a bus with “Ames Community School District” stamped on its side, might be a negative reflection of Ames High, according to Paulson. “The film shows guns being used inside our school, and we don’t want AHS associated with that,” Paulson said. “We have a solid reputation, and we need to make sure that stays intact.” No complaints had been received. When the film was brought to the attention of the administration, they simply talked to Doug Warren to get it taken down. “They didn’t punish me or anything, they just asked me to take it off of YouTube,” Warren said. Warren had initially posted the video because Mr. Ripley, the Perspectives in Media instructor, had posted several other group projects on YouTube as a showcase. “I chose not to put Cellular Mission on YouTube because it contained content I thought was inappropriate,” Ripley said. “I had repeatedly suggested changes to them before for that reason.” As Warren quickly removed the video, the case closed for Cellular Mission. Recent rumors in the high school suggest that YouTube was recently blocked from school computers because of Cellular Mission, but Paulson says that that’s not the case. “The timing was just a coincidence,” Paulson said. “We blocked YouTube because we were getting too many students visiting it against the rules – I would get two or three Acceptable Use Policy violations a day.” The Acceptable Use Policy, which students have to sign in order to use the internet on school computers, states that they will only use the computers for school-related activities. “It was a real headache. Since we blocked it, I haven’t had one,” Paulson said. Luckily, this situation ended without any ill effects. However, it’s a warning of how quickly things can get out of hand in today’s world of internet media. “I think the district will be a lot more careful if we get a request like this again,” Paulson said.