HSE investigating possible cyber-bullying
Hamilton Southeastern school district officials are taking action on a new report of cyber-bullying.
In 24 hours, a string of caustic, malicious messages and tweets embroiled the students at Hamilton Southeastern High School. The origin of the corrosive language was an anonymous account on Twitter called "The Royal Rag," that caught the attention of police via a new tip line.
"Actually, the police monitor the tip line and they knew about it already. You know, Twitter accounts are a fine line already, as to what is the school's responsibility and what is home and what is the community responsibility," said Michael Beresford, director of human resources and student services for Hamilton Southeastern Schools.
The Royal Rag is a swipe at HSE, whose school nickname is the Royals. If the author's intentions were to start an all-out cyber war, he or she succeeded, with responses from others.
"Really took it too far this time," wrote one reply.
"That they wouldn't say what they say to those people in person," read another.
"Whether you call it bullying or harassment or intimidation and/or threatening. It is all wrong," said Beresford.
Within hours of The Royal Rag starting, two other accounts sprang up and before long, the war of words was in full bloom. The language in many of the tweets was too graphic for television, but it is important to point out that none of them threatened violence. But they crossed the line from simple teasing to downright hate.
It put the school in a position of attempting to regulate students' behavior outside of the classroom.
"Anything that happens outside of school is difficult for schools to respond. Our responsibility is, does it have an impact on school and even that is hard to tell, you know, what is disruptive to the educational environment, when it happens outside," Beresford said.
The anonymous Twitter accounts were taken down quickly, making it almost impossible for police and the school to find the person or persons responsible.
If you're connected to Hamilton Southeastern Schools and need to report a problem, you can use the new "Text-A-Tip." Students, parents and others can send an anonymous message to 847847, which spells "TIP-TIP."
Police and school administrators monitor the tips throughout the school day.