Turlock Unified School District sent out an update to parents and guardians on Thursday informing them about recent instances of cyberbullying. The district uncovered “several fake Instagram accounts with various TUSD school names as part of their title with inappropriate and hurtful messaging.”
Some examples of these accounts include: THS ships, Turlock shoes, People Sleeping at THS, Pitman High Ships Official and Pitman High Starterpacks. Ship refers to when someone wants two people to enter into a romantic relationship.
The school district said that pictures are often taken and posted without knowledge or consent and that the posts are a violation of privacy rights and students who make such posts are likely to face school and legal consequences. TUSD regards all types of bullying, including cyber-bullying, as unacceptable.
“Bullying occurs when a student, or group of students, repeatedly try to hurt, humiliate or get power over another student in any of the following ways,” said communication coordinator Marie Russell.
The district defines cyberbullying as when a person or people use their cellphones, text messages, e-mails, instant messaging, the Internet and social media to bully someone by: excluding or isolating another person, using words, images or gestures to intimidate or humiliate someone.
TUSD is asking anyone with information about these accounts to report them to school administrators and encourages parents to have conversations with students about how to use social media in a healthy way.
“We know that Instagram is popular among students, and we want to encourage parents and guardians to partner with us to ensure students use social media responsibly,” TUSD said. “We also ask that you be aware of the social media activity your students are engaged in, and have candid conversations about the dangers of viewing and participating in inappropriate sites.”
TUSD warned students who violate the district’s Student Accountability Code and/or Equity & Diversity Participation Agreement will receive the strictest consequences and potential referral to law enforcement.
“First semester is almost over and our students have acclimated well to in-person learning. Behaviors described above take our attention away,” said TUSD.
The district encourages parents to visit commonsensemedia.org/social-media on tips on talking to your students about social media.