School district investigates Instagram cyberbullying case
A cyberbulling message appears on Instagram. (Source: Instagram)
SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -
A vicious case of cyber bullying is under investigation at Coastal Middle School after a parent brought an Instagram picture to WTOC's attention. WTOC then took it to the Savannah-Chatham County Public School District.
The message, which was posted just after 9:30 p.m. Monday, is shocking and violent. The image was posted onto the social media photo sharing platform Instagram is directed at a fellow student, who is mentioned by name: you "need to go kill yourself, no one likes you, you are worthless piece of ****, your life is pointless."
The post continues with a comment from the person extending the hateful and violent rant against the Coastal Middle School student: "You are a worthless piece of **** and I would run you over if I saw you. If I found you I would kill you and I would skin you, so just go kill yourself. It would help every single person in the world".
Even though the message was posted after school, and off of school property, district officials have launched an investigation and have alerted and met with the targeted student and the student's parents.
"The family wants this to be a private matter. All we know is an individual posted a message and it's enough that we are looking at it closely and working closely with the individual who was targeted," Kurt Hetager, Savannah-Chatham County Public School District, told WTOC.
Hetager said that once WTOC contacted his office, they alerted the school and principal who contacted the student and the parent, called in counselors and advisers, as well as campus police. The disturbing comment left by the poster gets even more descriptive and disgusting. The parent who alerted WTOC mentioned prior bullying against this same student, but so far, the school is still questioning the victim and hoping for more information.
"Many times when a student is possibly being bullied, they may not be willing to come forth with 100 percent of what's going on in the hallways, in the classrooms out of fear of the students they are being bullied by," Hetager said. "The bullying will not be tolerated."
The twisted photo message taunting a student, the vulgar language alone, is already posing difficulties as the school district counsels and works with the victim and the victim's family to determine who's responsible and if there was prior bullying. The district and school are taking the cyberbullying case seriously.
Instagram, opens up a new avenue for cyberbullying using smartphones.
"That's something that had to be modified because of this new wave of social media. There are so many elements out here and activities students can get engaged in where they can compromise their safety and parents need to be vigilant and watch their students are doing," Hetager said.
The keys to remember are to report any of this kind of online behavior. Talk to your children about this incident, bullying, the emotions of what these words mean, why these words are harmful.
Whether your child has been a victim or a bully, reaffirm their worth and the words are just words.
Hetager said the school district wants students and parents to know the lines of communication are open and students can trust they can come to the teachers and counselors with bullying issues.
Social workers and counselors are all working with the family as the investigation continues.