Williamson County Schools crackdown on cyber bullying - WKRN News 2

Williamson County Schools crackdown on cyber bullying

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The Williamson County School district began contacting parents Wednesday night to let them know of a new tougher approach to cyber bullying and inappropriate social media usage.

The schools discovered a number of Twitter accounts that tweet information about students alleging drug use, sexual relationships with faculty and sexual assault.

The tweets named specific students and had pictures.

"We are going to draw a line in the sand and say this is not acceptable behavior for Williamson County students," Dr. Mike Looney, Director of Williamson County Schools said. "If it impacts behavior, if impacts a child's ability to go to school and focus on academics we are going to do everything we can to alleviate that from happening."

Dr. Looney said tweets alleging criminal activity will be referred to local police. He said students found using Twitter accounts without documented permission from their parents will face disciplinary action.

The school district said students have already been referred to the Alternative Learning Center as a result of inappropriate social media usage.

"There is probably no way to stop it all but we are going to draw attention to it and we are going to make sure our parents are informed," Dr. Looney said. "It becomes a very important thing to our school system when those kinds of activities start to disrupt learning in our schools."

Deborah Sumner has two children at Centennial High School, a daughter who is a sophomore and a son who is a senior.

She was shocked to find out about the tweets targeting students and teachers. Her children were not targeted, but they were concerned about the postings.

"My daughter was concerned," Sumner said. "She said, ‘I don't want to be on there.'"

Sumner said in her home she has access to all of her children's social media accounts and follows them on Twitter and Instagram so she can see what they are posting.

"It is very sad and it is very scary," she said. "Unfortunately as parents we don't know what we should be watching out for a lot of times until something like this happens."

Dr. Looney pointed out that this type of cyber bullying is not unique to Williamson County Schools.

"School sites like this are popping up across the nation," he said. "Public schools, private schools and church schools have had this happen no one is insulated."

Dr. Looney announced a set of community meetings to inform parents about social media usage and other issues related to the district's social media policy.

The first meeting will be hosted by the District Attorney at Ravenwood High School February 13 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Dr. Looney will host a community meeting at the Professional Development Center in Franklin on February 18 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

The final community meeting will be at Franklin High School on February 20 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

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