A potentially dangerous cyberbullying trend has caught the attention of officials with Rutherford County schools.
Over the weekend school officials were notified that unknown persons had created anonymous and unauthorized Instagram accounts, using school names, for the sole purpose of criticizing the appearance of other students.
RCS spokesman James Evans told News 2 the school district takes the reports seriously.
"They were posting pictures of the girls and encouraging people to comment about the physical attributes of the girl," said Evans, continuing, "Which is why we alerted parents as soon as we heard about it and saw that it was affecting more than one school."
Many of the comments were extremely graphic and demeaning.
Ginger Eldridge has a daughter in middle school in Rutherford County. Her daughter has not been involved in the cyberbullying, but she said it's disturbing to know what students are doing and seeing on social media.
"It's sickening," Eldridge said. "We need to teach them that every person has a value. They don't deserve to be shamed."
In an email sent out Monday, RCS warned parents about the trend.
"The district encourages parents to contact their school's principal if their child has been directly affected, to monitor their children's social media activity and to discuss with their children how damaging cyberbullying can be to other students," the statement said.
Even though the Instagram accounts used school names, the school district does not operate any Instagram accounts.
RCS has a policy about bullying, including cyberbullying that read, "RCS policy 6.304 (Student Discrimination / Bullying and Intimidation) prohibits any student from bullying, intimidating or creating a hostile educational environment for another student. In addition, students can be expelled for a calendar year if they communicate a threat on social media that causes a disturbance at school, according to the district's zero tolerance policy. Furthermore, inappropriate photos shared through electronic means may also result in criminal charges depending on the content of the photo, i.e. nudity involving minors."
Posting inappropriate photos can result in criminal charges.