Rutherford County students targeted in disturbing cyberbullying - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Rutherford County students targeted in disturbing cyberbullying

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Someone is creating Instagram accounts in the names of schools, posting photos of female students and then inviting others to make degrading comments. Someone is creating Instagram accounts in the names of schools, posting photos of female students and then inviting others to make degrading comments.
MURFREESBORO, TN (WSMV) -

A Middle Tennessee school district is dealing with a troubling case of cyberbullying. Someone is creating Instagram accounts in the names of schools, posting photos of female students and then inviting others to make degrading comments.

Rutherford County Schools officials have identified six high schools and at least two middle schools where students were using Instagram accounts in those schools' names to bully other students.

"Someone, or multiple people, had started Instagram pages using school names. The sole purpose of these accounts appeared to be to post pictures of females students and make degrading comments about them," said school district spokesman James Evans.

The students were being called a THOT, which is a slang acronym with a degrading meaning.

"People have been talking about it, so I checked it out. It's not right to be talking about women like that," said Siegel High School student Tristin Martin.

In addition to Siegel, there have been Instagram pages reported using Riverdale, La Vergne, Blackman, Stewarts Creek and Smyrna high schools, as well as Rockvale and Christiana middle schools.

Students like Martin and fellow Siegel freshman Chase Brenner are speaking out against the cyberbullying.

"Everybody has their thoughts and opinions, but I don't think it should be broadcast for everyone to see. Everybody is beautiful in their own way. If you don't have anything good to say about someone, don't say it at all," Brenner said.

Oakland High School is not included. The school teaches several classes on cyberbullying and bullying, and Principle of Management classes from Middle Tennessee State University performed cyberbullying skits at the school in 2011 and 2012.

"Some teenage students have become desensitized to what it means to use social media. They don't always realize how harmful it can be," Evans said. "We have seen example across the country where these things have ended tragically, and we don't want that to happen in our community."

School officials say since most of the activity happened over the weekend, they are encouraging parents to monitor their children's internet usage and social media accounts.

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