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Social Media Posts Concern Williamson Co. Schools - John Dunn

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BRENTWOOD, Tenn. -- It is being called cyber bullying at its worst, and school leaders in Williamson County say enough is enough. The problem centers around anonymous posts on social media, which spread rumors, gossip, and disturbing confessions.

It's not hard to stay anonymous behind the safety of a computer, but what is being written on twitter is drawing a lot of attention in Williamson County High Schools.  "It has gotten out of hand. People are starting to acknowledge that it has just blossomed into something terrible you know," says senior student Madison Riddle.

The problem centers around twitter accounts with names like @GossipWilco, @WCSconfessions, @Wilcoblackouts.  In recent weeks posts have become increasingly personal and vulgar. Some detail rumors about sex and violence. "I think it's almost more shock value with some of the accounts. Some of the things are either malicious untruths or exaggerations," says junior student Avery Arons.

"They are designed to make fun of other kids. I mean that is typically what they are used for, nothing good," says junior student Matt Mullenger.

Director of Schools Dr. Mike Looney is getting involved and alerting parents. He calls the posts disturbing and inappropriate.
Many twitter accounts are being created as quickly as others are removed, and the problem is popping up in other school districts as well.

Dr. Looney says it's affecting students, and it needs to stop. Senior Madison Riddle agrees. "I definitely think we need to awaken our senses, bring things into reality. How would you feel if someone did that to you?," says Riddle.

While some students tell FOX 17 News that Looney is infringing on their first amendment rights, most agree the anonymous postings should stop. "The majority of the student body feels like it has gone far enough, and calling out people by name or saying some of those things is just not appropriate," says Arons.

The school system is planning to hold public meetings with parents about this issue. They will discuss social media and how to monitor what students are posting.

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