JACKSONVILLE, ONSLOW COUNTY - A Twitter account used to bully students at an Onslow County high school is live again after it temporarily went down when school and Sheriff's office officials were investigating.
"I've heard students crying in class," a concerned parent said. "I've heard students exchanging words. It's the first seed to where somebody could lose it and take it to the next level, as revenge for what is being said about them."
This parent, who NewsChannel 12 is keeping anonymous to protect his 18-year-old daughter of becoming a potential target, wants to raise awareness with parents about the Twitter account that's bullying students at White Oak High School.
The account went down temporarily last month after school officials reported it to law enforcement. But last week, the tweets were live again.
"That's between the kids, their conscience, twitter, and their parents, but when it enters the classroom, then it becomes everybody's problem," the parent said.
He adds that the cyber-bullying takes away from the learning environment. School officials are monitoring the Twitter account while law enforcement investigates. They say an administrator is even following the account and trying to post positive comments as an example.
The school's principal told students Friday that if they're caught having any involvement with the account, they won't be able to participate in activities like prom or sports teams. Since then, followers have dropped, and no more posts.
This parent hopes the account is shut down for good, so there's more time for learning.
"It can become very frustrating to them, and time consuming, and that's not fair to our teachers, and it is not fair to the students who are there to learn."
We've all been guilty of spreading rumors at one time or another, but these words may hurt more than you think.
"My girls were harassed at school quite a bit, but then outside of that, they brought it to our attention," said a father of two teens who were harassed online. "If they had not brought it to our attention, I wouldn't have known about it."
Those two girls aren't the only victims. That Twitter account was created within the last few weeks, picking on students at White Oak High School.
"They get on, they pick on people's genders," the father said. "They pick on people's features, personalities, things that will cut to the quick, and for the most part, people know who they're talking about."
Twitter users send anonymous messages to the account, whether they're personal facts or hurtful rumors.
"Your child is constantly a victim," the father said. "When they're at school, whether they're bullied at school, and then when they leave, there's no escape."
He says he pulled his daughters out of school.
Brad Staley, assistant principal at another high school, recently attended an anti-bullying conference, where he learned about the dangers of social media.
"It heightens our awareness to what can happen," Staley said. "Just like the parents need to have open communication with the kids, so do the teachers, and school administration with the students, to make sure they understand what's acceptable and what's not."
Staley says all schools, and especially parents, should be aware.
"What we're doing is really advising parents to be aware to make sure that they're having conversations with their kids, and they know what they're doing online," Staley said.
The Sheriff's office has a detective investigating the account. We don't know who is behind the account.
- Updated Long commute could hurt your health, add to your waistline
- Updated Italy earthquake: At least 2 killed, buildings collapse
- Can Tokyo avoid the curse of the Olympics?
- Trump: 'There could certainly be a softening' on immigration stance
- After gay couple's home is vandalized, a community rallies