Police subpoena Instagram over Franklin "burn book"
A case of cyber-bullying in school has turned into a police investigation.
Eyewitness News has learned Franklin police have issued subpoenas to a popular social network, hoping to catch the person behind a posting called "Franklin Burn Book."
The person responsible for the posts on the website Instagram goes by the user name "Franklin_Burnbook." The posts target a handful of Franklin high school and middle school students. The poster "burns" them with insults about their appearance and taunts them to kill themselves or burn in hell.
"I'm just embarrassed, really," said Franklin High School freshman Alexis Teeter.
Teeter has been so embarrassed by what's on the Instagram page, that she hasn't wanted to go to school this week.
"I was embarrassed, like, walking through the hallways," explained Teeter. "Everybody's talking about it."
People found what was on the page so offensive, that Franklin Community Schools and Franklin Police Department have launched an investigation.
"What they said was really mean about all these people," said Teeter of the comments.
On the Instagram page, under each student's picture, the anonymous poster insulted and taunted the students. The comments made under Alexis's picture were in such poor taste, Eyewitness News cannot repeat them.
Under another student's picture there were these comments: "You're seriously one of the ugliest girls I know. You cut yourself. You make yourself puke. You're suicidal."
That was just a sample of how nasty the posts have been.
"Some of the things that were said, I just couldn't believe that someone would say to another human being," said Alexis's mother, Melissa Fisher.
The burn book posts haven't been found to be just hurtful though. Franklin Police and the school district said the comments are a crime and a violation of the district's anti-harassment policy.
"I think its very harmful. It's harmful for the kids to read it. It's also impacting learning," explained Superintendent David Clendening.
Franklin Schools said the person responsible could be looking at consequences as serious as suspension or expulsion. Police said that person, when found, will be looking at harassment charges.
"They need to learn a lesson. Any bully that's going to bully anyone needs to learn a lesson. That you know we're not going to tolerate it," said Fisher.
It seems that old saying about sticks and stones breaking bones, but words never hurting hasn't rung true for Alexis Teeter and some other students. But now, they've learned, words, even posted anonymously, can be powerful and destructive weapons.
"They do hurt people," said Teeter.
Franklin police have issued a subpoena to Instagram and have asked that Franklin Burn Book be removed. So far, police said they have not heard back.