Information, Communication and Technology teacher, Mr Bailey Lawson, has been blamed for creating chaos in the schoolyard.
Mr Lawson is the ‘brains’ behind the Playground Pals app and explained the thinking behind his creation. ‘The Playground Pals app enables students to use their phones to create a profile page and invite other kids to play with them during recess and lunch. So say little Jimmy has no friends, he can login to Playground Pals and invite another student to play with him. The invitee then gets the request on their device and can swipe right to agree to play with Jimmy.’
At least his rejection is private and not advertised by sitting on a rainbow-coloured Friendship Chair in the middle of the yard.
And what happens if the invitee swipes left? ‘Well, that’s a no. But Jimmy can then invite someone else. At least his rejection is private and not advertised by sitting on a rainbow-coloured Friendship Chair in the middle of the yard.’
Within two days of launching the app, assistant principal Ms Ruth Horan has ordered Mr Lawson to shut it down. ‘It only took a few minutes for the students to start using Playground Pals like Tinder and sending their love-interests requests,’ said Ms Horan. ‘The invitee would then swipe right if they wanted to be that person’s boyfriend/girlfriend. It’s been like Love Island here.’
Ms Horan outlined just a handful of the incidents that have occurred:
– A Year 8 boy accepted requests to go steady with five girls leading to a shouting match between the females
– A Year 9 girl who inadvertently packed her little brother’s lunch into her bag sent him a Playground Pals invite so they could swap lunches. This lead to other students accusing her of having a crush on her brother
– Two Year 5 boys scuffled after one boy used the app to ask out a girl who was already partnered with the other male
– A Year 5 boy, who was unaware of the inappropriate use of the app, was accused of sexual harassment after inviting a female classmate to ‘be his queen’. The boy later explained he was referring to the queen’s position in the game of Four Square
While the app was already in the gun, the final straw came when it was discovered Mr Stu Richards was sending requests to students with divorced parents and requesting they ‘pass the invite onto their mother’. ‘I was just supporting Bailey,’ explained Mr Richards, his eyes glued to his phone as he checked Playground Pals before its imminent shut-down. ‘Do you know if Macy’s folks are still together?’
The final straw came when it was discovered Mr Stu Richards was sending requests to students with divorced parents and requesting they ‘pass the invite onto their mother’