Rocket Report Suspension: YouTube silences voices of SHS students: Part 1

Program returned March 18 with new look, youtube channel and features


graphic by Aaron Sears

This logo is among the new graphics created by senior producer Aaron Sears and his crew for “The Rocket Report 2.0,” which is now streaming on a new youtube channel called, “Streetsboro High School Broadcasting.”

Isabella Leonardi, Reporter

Panic sparked when a group of Streetsboro High School students had their content banned from YouTube for “scam, spam and deception” just before President’s Day. 

Senior Aaron Sears, the Rocket Report’s operations manager, expressed frustration over the incident.

“I think that we all are very mad, and rightly so,” he said. “It’s very easy to get frustrated when you can’t understand why something has happened and you’re suffering from it.”

The production, originally created by teacher Jim Boardwine in 2019, stemmed from the former morning announcements program run by now retired teacher Tom Fesemeyer.  

The Rocket Report channel began mainly as a streaming service for sporting events, but as time progressed and editing skills improved, it became the streaming sensation it is today…or used to be, before YouTube deactivated it.

The work of The Rocket Report not only entertains SHS but also provides content for the rest of the community.  During the Boro Banter videos, The Rocket Report interacts with businesses in the community, younger students within the district, athletics, Thrive and Maplewood students.  

The involvement of a variety of individuals helped to connect SHS and the rest of the community, which in return, enabled viewers to feel included in the content.

Senior producer Aaron Sears works in the control room in the back of the Rocket Report studios. Sears spends several periods a day as well as countless hours outside of school on this program and other broadcasting projects for SHS. (photo by Noor Chima)

On February 17, The Rocket Report received an email from YouTube stating it had permanently banned the account. The email said the channel had violated community guidelines but it was entirely vague, leaving the staff confused.  

After hours of research, the staff discovered many other small creator accounts experience the same issue and receive unclear reasoning. The crew had not read community guidelines in the past because they were inexperienced in uploading content to YouTube.  

“I could be as advanced as I want in editing, but I was never really a big know-it-all when it came to YouTube,” Sears explained. “When it came to uploading videos and [setting] thumbnails, [that] was it.  That was my limit.”

The team rallied together to review old content to search for any signs of violation of community guidelines. Sears and adviser Jim Boardwine could only pinpoint one thing that could be considered copyright. 

The content included copyrighted songs, but every song they had used was stock audio, which they had licensed. Every time they use one of these songs, they receive an automatic email that allows them to refute the copyright claims.

Senior Rocket Report staff member Jen Rebecchi edits content for during first period. (photo by Aspen Hanzak)

Sears admitted to being lazy about reacting to the emails and said he stopped manually refuting the claims because they came in automatically.

Sears explained the process of uploading a video with copyrighted audio. Before the video is published, YouTube analyzes the files to recognize any songs. When the program finds a song that is copyrighted, it gives the creator a “content ID strike,” meaning that YouTube is giving a warning to the creator, saying the song does not belong to them. The content ID strike has no penalties toward users’ accounts, except it demonetised the video.

The Rocket Report is not a monetized channel because they do not have enough subscribers, so it did not affect their channel. 

After more research about how content ID strikes affect YouTube accounts, they discovered that account termination was not possible. YouTube cannot ban an account unless it has account strikes, which were not issued to the account. 

Editing footage for the March 18 comeback episode are senior Rocket Report staff members and Boro Banter personalities Maysun Klimak, Matthew Burks and Hunter Hopperton. (photo by Aspen Hanzak)

YouTube carries a “three strikes you’re out” policy meaning if you violate community guidelines three times within 90 days, the account gets deactivated; or, if a severe misconduct occurs, the account would be taken down immediately.  

The Rocket Report did not receive any word from YouTube about different acts of misconduct. . . so what severe misconduct occurred on the channel?

Check out Part II of this story, coming soon, on