COVID Snitch Hotlines: Why Bother?

Nicholas Ji '22, Contributor

As sports leagues, schools, and companies begin to reopen, many executives and local leaders have begun to introduce “snitch hotlines,” or mechanisms where people can anonymously report violations of COVID regulations.

The benefits of these policies are supposedly twofold: people are fearful of punishment and social shaming, and they allow people to report anonymously without fear of social repercussions.

However, in the context of Loomis Chaffee, the implementation of a snitch hotline simply does not provide any tangible benefits to our community.

For starters, there is a shockingly easy alternative to anonymously reporting someone to the school administration for what could possibly be an honest mistake: reminding them of the rules.

As a community that prides itself on serving the common good and fostering conversation and mutual respect among students, giving a friendly reminder seems a much more reasonable alternative to anonymous call outs and bringing down the Dean’s Office hammer. Such a system for reporting would create an incentive to wear masks and social distance based on fear, rather than a true desire to protect our community and keep it healthy.

Additionally, the “snitch hotline” comes with the possibility of misuse, the effects of which could significantly influence the lives of Loomis students. There are examples of this happening in the world outside of the Island, perhaps most infamously in NYC: when New York City mayor Bill De Blasio initially introduced a text message snitch system, he was inundated with lewd photos and inappropriate material.

While hopefully, students at LC would be responsible enough to not send this type of content to the Deans’ Office, there is still a remote chance of a student playing a joke on their friend or, although less likely, using the report system as a weapon against others.

As a community, we must have the utmost faith in each other to do what our values reflect and work to endure through the pandemic.