‘PPS fight’ accounts gain popularity

Instagram accounts created by students promote drugs and violence


A screenshot from a PPS fight account. This account has since been taken down.

New private Instagram accounts, commonly known as “PPS fight accounts,” have gained popularity with Portland Public Schools students. Some accounts have over 1,900 followers.

These accounts feature videos and pictures showing Portland Public Schools students using drugs and fighting off-and-on school property. Other accounts advertise for house parties and the sale of alcohol in the Portland area.

All of these accounts are private on Instagram, but creators of the accounts allow many students to follow.

The videos posted on these accounts are provided by students who privately send videos of themselves or others fighting or using drugs to the owners of the accounts.

One Lincoln student featured in a fight video says he has only one word to describe his behavior that day: “Embarrassed.” However, he adds that he wouldn’t want to take his fight down from the internet because “it’s funny” and “it’s at 1900 views already.”

The Cardinal Times direct-messaged with the creators of several accounts to discuss the inspiration behind creating their accounts. The Times did not inquire into the identities of the creators because of the illicit nature of the content, however, due to the nature of Instagram direct-messaging, the Times can confirm that they are administrators of the accounts. The Times is also declining to name the accounts to avoid promotion of the content.

The creator of an account that advertises house parties describes, “I had a night where I was super bored and could have gone to a party, but didn’t know about it, so I thought, why not make a place where no one misses the big party and there’s always something to do every weekend.”

The administrator of an account that resells alcohol said “there isn’t really a message behind [the account].”  

“I am aware that what I am doing is illegal and contributing to teenage delinquency along with putting people at risk of drunk driving accidents and alcohol poisoning,” the creator said.

That person also said that they are worried about the Portland Police more than administrators from the school.

“The Portland Police were actually following my personal Snapchat so we know they are on to us to a certain extent,” said the owner of the account that resells alcohol.

Not only are the schools and police keeping track of these accounts, but Instagram is also monitoring them, that person said. According to Instagram’s community guidelines, Instagram does not support crimes or buying or selling illegal drugs and will enforce its rules if necessary.

Many owners delete their accounts periodically to avoid getting caught by the police and Instagram according the the alcohol account, causing problems for administrators like Sean Mailey, one of the vice-principals at Lincoln.

“Legally there’s nothing [the administration] can do if students choose to participate in these activities when they are [a reasonable distance off] school property and off school hours,” said Mr. Mailey. “Social media is hard so I don’t always know about these group pages.”

“Schools aren’t accountable for weekend behavior, but athletes are required to follow the 24/7 drug-free policy,” said Mailey

The 24/7 drug policy applies to all PIL and competitive athlete and says that “possession, selling or promotion of drug or alcohol-impaired learning, or use of alcohol drugs or tobacco is not tolerated in the schools, on school grounds or at school activities by students staff or other persons,” according to Mailey.

In disciplining students for drug and fighting offenses, the administration categorizes the offense in different levels. Level A involves insight classes and two weeks of lunch detention. The next is level B for possession or use during the school day and that requires a hearing officer that comes into the school from the district. The officer is a neutral third-party who reviews all the information and decides a punishment for the student.

“I can’t expel students; only the hearing officer can do that,” said Mailey.

Mr. Mailey also clarified that his goal is to “keep students safe and discipline is the least favorite part of [his] job.”

“Discipline is intervention. It can be seen as punitive but it always has two parts. Intervention is more involved than disciplinary. I like helping students getting help they need.”