The Rocket Report Suspension: YouTube Silences The Voices Of High School Students Part 2


photo by Aspen Hanzak

Senior Hunter Hopperton films an interview between sophomore Gio Caputo and teacher Jeff Rainer April 5 for the April 8 edition of the show.

Senior operations manager Aaron Sears edits content for the Rocket Report. (photo by Isabella Leonardi)

Adviser Jim Boardwine and his Rocket Report operations manager, senior Aaron Sears, only had 1,000 characters to explain the situation to YouTube, refute the claim and get their account back. 

A few minutes after submitting their claim on Feb. 21, The Rocket Report received an email from YouTube stating the refute was not valid because it had to be made in a relatively short amount of time. 

Because of the long weekend, Sears and Boardwine had had to do extensive research before refuting the claim, therefore, they could not submit the refute in what youtube considered a “timely manner.”

The next day, The Rocket Report took the situation to Twitter. Sears tweeted, “@YouTube @YouTubeCreators, you just removed and denied TWICE the appeal of a public high school channel without notifying us of ANY wrongdoing beforehand after we spent the weekend researching trying to find what we did wrong. Our students’ hard work must be shared!”  

YouTube replied to the tweet, requesting context on the situation so their team could review the appeal again. Sears was quick to reply this time with an 11-part strand of tweets explaining what had happened.  

Senior Maysun Klimak, Matthew Burks and Hunter Hopperton are members of the Boro Banter. The Boro Banter is one of the favorite segments of the Rocket Report and has brought many viewers to the account. (photo by Aspen Hanzak )

After a second review, YouTube responded to the tweet thread and made the final decision to stand by the account suspension for violating the “spam scam, and deceptive practices policy” and they included a link. 

Sears accessed the link to read about the guidelines, but once again, he could not understand how The Rocket Report violated the rules. Still confused, Sears replied to the final decision tweet and requested that YouTube specify how they had violated any guidelines and the response was. . . crickets.  

Out of frustration after being patient and still receiving no reasoning, Sears made a final tweet about the situation: “Though we were NEVER notified of any misconduct and have yet to be told specifically what we have done, YouTube still holds its termination of our channel as valid.  While it’s hard to be a TV channel without a channel, we will find our way back to your screens one way or another.”  

The crew had lost most of its content because they did not predict their account being taken down. They were left in the dark and were scrambling trying to figure out how to recover content they had worked so hard to produce. Although the team disagreed with YouTube’s final decision, they could not do anything to fight against it. Because they accepted all of the terms and conditions, they are practically powerless against YouTube.  

Senior Corey Teuton interviews teacher Bob Long for a Rocket Report segment. Others who have been interviewed for similar segments include local business owner Dean Caputo and state-qualifying wrestlers Donavon Paes and Cohen Klimak. (photo courtesy of The Rocket Report)

Sears expressed his anger toward YouTube’s decision. “I think [we] are all very mad, and rightly so. It’s very easy to get frustrated when you can’t understand why something has happened and you’re suffering from it.”  

Boardwine said he wishes to know the reasoning behind the ban so the team can learn from this experience and fix their mistakes. After receiving emails and tweets from YouTube, he suspected Streetsboro’s case was most likely handled by a YouTube bot.  

“The YouTube bots cannot keep us down,” he said.

The crew experienced difficulty in trying to reach a legitimate representative who was not a bot. When redirected to the YouTube support page, the team could not find the help they needed and were practically left in the dark.  

Boardwine asked a valid question that needs to be answered: “You’ve watched the Rocket Report, do we fall into scam, spam, or deception?”