On Wednesday, FOX10 News discovered three parody Twitter accounts targeting students, teachers, and other schools.
In May 2013, FOX10 News broke the story of a Twitter account used by cyber-bullying students in Mobile County. After FOX10 News reported the story, the account was suspended.
The bullies in the latest accounts targeted some students at Mobile Christian School, Cottage Hill Christian Academy, and St. Luke’s Episcopal School. The accounts, which seem to stem from within the respective schools, appear to be run by students. FOX10 News alerted each of the schools about the accounts Wednesday morning. By the end of the day, one was shut down.
“We are in favor of friendly rivalries, but we strive to teach our students not to cross that line from rivalry to personal attacks or any type of bullying,” said Tim Anderson, principal at Cottage Hill Christian Academy. “We’ve reviewed the entire account. Mr. McMillian [the head of school] and I, together have done that. Any action would be on an individual basis. Parents and students have brought to our attention things that were not proper on the internet and we try and address it on an individual basis.”
Anderson is a Marine Corps vet. He said between his time in the service and his time in education, it is important to have guidance from parents especially when it comes to social media.
“The first thing I would say is that it’s just critical that the parents are aware of what their children are saying. Because if they are not, then the students have license. And that’s where the trouble begins when they’re unsupervised. That’s the first and most important thing that the parents know what the child is sending out electronically,” said Anderson.
Cross town rival, Mobile Christian School was also targeted.
“We were notified by FOX10 that there was a Twitter account that mentioned our school,” said middle and high school principal Joey Adams. Adams told FOX10 News within an hour of being alerted, he was able to “pinpoint the originator of that Twitter account.”
“That Twitter account does not exist anymore,” said Adams.
Adams told FOX10 News the school has taken matters into its own hands when it comes to online bullying.
“We understand that cyber-bullying is a problem in our country and we are taking active steps to try and prevent that and part of that is our anti-bullying curriculum we’ve implemented this year. We’re doing that grades 5-12. The parents and students have reacted very well to this. Our parents are very excited about it and our staff is very excited about it to be able to roll this out to our kids and be able to talk about this on a daily basis,” said Adams.
FOX10 News reached out to St. Luke’s Episcopal School for comment on the Twitter accounts. While its associated accounts were more derogatory, headmaster Mike Notaro said he had “no comment.”