Cyberbullying, School Threats: Putnam School District Deals With Anonymous Accounts

The Putnam City School District decided to cancel classes at Capps Middle after someone threatened the school on social media.

Tuesday, April 18th 2023, 6:13 pm



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The Putnam City School District decided to cancel classes at Capps Middle after someone threatened the school on social media.

The district says it cannot disclose the nature of the threat due to the ongoing investigation, but students will return on Wednesday with security enhancements.

The mother of one student said the threat originated from an anonymous social media page. She also believes the problem with similar accounts goes beyond this single incident.

“The cyberbullying has taken over,” this mother said. “It’s completely taken over.”

Out of fear of retaliation, she asked to remain anonymous.

She said it’s also due to the bullying her daughter has faced since the beginning of the school year. It’s bullying she said started at a nearby park where she thought two kids were fighting.

“They were play fighting,” this mom said. “Just being a mom, I told them to knock it off.”

Instead, she says they took the fight to her daughter online.

“They would continually add her to the group and just talk about how they were going to jump her or fight her in the bathroom,” she said.

It continued for months. She hoped they were idle threats until Tuesday of last week.

“She calls me from the school phone and says this boy just jumped me and beat me up.”

The video shared on social media shows her daughter was grabbed and repeatedly punched in the pickup line.

“A boy blatantly beating my daughter,” she said. “I am not okay with just a suspension.”

Her mom hopes for harsher punishment.

By law, the district cannot disclose student information on discipline, but said it is aware of the challenge brought by social media.

“You can’t be aware of every single account,” said district communications director, Jeff Bardach. “They pop up every single day. When we’re made aware of them, we deal with them.”

The accounts he refers to are typically anonymous accounts on platforms like Instagram and Snapchat.

He says awareness is a collective effort that starts with students and parents.

“It starts with monitoring it and it starts with knowing what your child is doing on social media,” said Bardach.

Meanwhile, the student alleging she was bullied has not returned to the classroom since last Tuesday.

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