SPRINGBORO, Ohio (WDTN) – Positive messages are posted in the hallways of Springboro High School. They are part of Random Acts of Kindness Week.
It was organized by a self-proclaimed “Anonymous Panther”. He or she only communicates through e-mail and Twitter.
“The fact that it’s anonymous doesn’t really bother me because I think it says people are watching no matter what you do and even if they’re not watching, you should always be kind to someone,” says Springboro High School Principal Tina Daniel.
The “Anonymous Panther” sent an e-mail to the school board and superintendent last week informing them about the plans.
2 NEWS obtained those e-mails through a public records request.
In an e-mail dated February 5, school board member David Petroni asked the student to reveal his or her identity, but the student refused.
Petroni responded by e-mail saying, “I will never support anonymity. Why? It ain’t real life. I hope the IP address of your message permits you to graduate sir or madame.”
He also told the student to “man up or woman up”.
2 NEWS reached out to Petroni for comment, but still haven’t heard back from him.
Fellow school board members Ron Malone and Dave Stuckey, as well as superintendent Todd Petrey, were copied on that e-mail.
All three apologized to the “Anonymous Panther” for Petroni’s comments and stated their support for the student’s mission.
“For it to be student-composed, it really is a beautiful thing to see and we’re proud of our students,” comments Petrey.
Students say it brought them closer together.
“It’s really positive to have someone here who’s willing to do everything that needs to be done to make Springboro a better place. We’re all excited that somebody is willing to step up and do that for us,” explains senior Will Fridenmaker.
We emailed “Anonymous Panther” hoping to get an interview.
We received a response saying that the student never imagined it would grow into something this big and that “it is far too risky with the amount of people determined to reveal my identity. I will be revealing myself at graduation this year, so I’m not taking any chances until then.”
The student hopes it will inspire others to pay it forward.
It wasn’t just the high school that participated in Random Acts of Kindness Week. It was a district wide event.
Next year, the principal says they hope to involve the community as well.