When Hayden Webb sees one of his classmates doing good, he says something about it. He’ll send out a tweet, which is then liked, retweeted and sometimes printed out and put on the doors or windows of his school.
But spreading kindness, especially on social media, where “anonymous” accounts at schools often turn to posting rumors or belittling comments, is what the students at Karl G. Maeser Preparatory Academy in Lindon do.
“We are always looking out for each other,” said Dustin Simmons, the dean of the high school students.
There are about 600 students at the public charter school, which serves the seventh through 12th grades.
There’s at least two social media accounts run by students, including the Maeser Anonymous Twitter page run by Webb, at the school dedicated to complimenting classmates and teachers. Simmons said the way the students act on the accounts, giving other students praise and shout outs for good deeds, is an extension of how they act in the hallways.
He estimated between a fourth and a third of the students are on Twitter, more on Instagram. When a student was highlighted in the Maeser Anonymous account and wasn’t on Twitter, Simmons brought the student into his office to show him the tweet.
“It kind of made his day, he was having a rough day,” Simmons said.
It’s not uncommon for the teachers to print out the compliments and post them on a door or a window for passing students to see and read.
About 160 people follow the Maeser Anonymous Twitter account, where users can send in compliments for Webb to post. Webb started the account in March after some friends suggested it.
It’s stayed completely positive.
“That’s the right thing to do,” Webb said. “I don’t know. I don’t think one should take pleasure in being negative towards someone else.”
Compliments have included calling a student a great singer, naming students as being kind, complimenting athletic abilities and saying a student is a deep thinker. He’s complimented staff for caring about students and working hard, and even retweeted a compliment about giving Nutella to a student.
He writes a lot of the compliments himself. They’re usually random and about students he’s had interactions with that day, or kids who might fly under the radar.
An Instagram account with the username of kgmpa.compliments that goes by the name of Maeser Pride also posts pictures of students with compliments included. So far, it has about 150 followers and has made about 20 posts.
Other student-run social media accounts about the school don’t focus on compliments, but remain positive. There’s an inactive Twitter account full of pictures of students who fall asleep in class. Another social media account highlights teacher fashion. And one, which has been inactive for more than a year, was dedicated to school and student-specific puns.