School officials investigate 'vulgar' Twitter account at Cottonwood High

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COTTONWOOD — The Granite School District was investigating an extreme case of cyber-bullying at Cottonwood High School Monday.

Someone set up a Twitter account which contains language that school officials say, they don't often see in these types of cases. The account was shut down Monday evening, but investigators still aren't sure who was responsible.

The Granite School District said it's been difficult to get Twitter to review the account and flag it, so school officials are doing their own investigation with police involvement.

"This is a clear cut case of cyber bullying and it's unfortunately becoming more and more frequent as kids utilize these tools to be mean to each other," said Ben Horsley, spokesman for the Granite School District.

The particular twitter account contains language that Cottonwood High School officials called vulgar and despicable. Administrators tweeted for students to block and unfollow it.

"Highly inappropriate use of multiple profanities and crude statements," Horsley said, describing the comments on the account.

Students said the page isn't getting any real buzz in school, but they'd like to see it gone.

"I haven't heard anyone talk about it, but just the fact that it's actually happening here is really shocking," said Cottonwood High School Student Tori Castillo.

"It's something that really offends me, personally, and I believe it should be taken down and punish who's responsible," said student Austin Duckworth.

District officials said they are trying to find out who's behind the account, but getting it immediately deleted was another issue.

"There are just so many millions of accounts and so many incidents like this. It's just too hard to police. Twitter's not capable of policing," said Russ Warner, the CEO of Content Watch.

Content Watch provides Internet protection tools. He said the account, although vulgar and disparaging, doesn't appear to violate Twitter rules which only prohibit violence and threats.

"They're not divulging copyright or abusing trademark. They're not impersonating anybody," Warner said.

But the District said, the account does violate its safe schools policy. School officials said cyber bullying is an unfortunate side effect of social media and that they have successfully identified perpetrators in the past.

In this case, criminal charges are possible and at the very least, the user could be suspended or expelled.

"There's certainly some free speech elements to this, but at this point in time, we're leaving nothing to caution and we want to make sure our kids feel safe," Horsley said.

Horsley said, parents should monitor children's electronic devices and look at their social media accounts. He also asked individuals that see anything concerning online to report it to the school and possibly police as well.


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