Weatherford High School

WHS Fights Cyber Crimes

Many members of the student body found the declaration of school continuing as scheduled the next day to be humorous, and this was due in part to the salacious language used in the announcement.

“Yeah, I mean, it was funny,” junior Emilie Herron said. “It was mostly funny because it was obviously not her. She would NEVER talk like that.”

While some twitter users found the parody account to be funny, there is no denying that impersonating others on twitter exists in a gray area that might not be entirely legal. Online crimes involving harassment, defamation through impersonation, and bullying are on the rise both nationwide, and in Weatherford.

According to S.R.O Seaton, what the @RooPrincipall account did was illegal.

“There are several reasons why it is illegal,” Seaton said. “When you claim to be someone else you can hurt them by putting things out there that people might believe are true. Like, it could have hurt Mrs. Pool in the future, getting jobs and such.”

Defamation of character through means of online impersonation is a serious offense, but it is certainly not the only online crime surfacing in high schools. According to Seaton, students can also get caught up in online activity that could legally constitute harassment.

“Harassment is electronic images, messages, pictures, calling, texting,” Seaton said. “You know, anything that makes you alarmed or scared is considered harassment.”

According to Seaton there has been a rise in the number of online crimes due to certain applications that have surfaced over the last few years.

“Yes, there has definitely been a rise because of applications like KIK,” Seaton said.

Legal issues related to these applications are not the only considerations for students and administrators. Many students have experienced being the victims of cyber harassment, and it can completely change the school day for these students.

“Students in these situations just feel alone,” Mrs. Akbar said. “They feel like everyone is looking at the them. Everyone is talking about them. They just feel alone.”

According to Akbar, a teacher known for developing close relationships with her students, the fallout can be overwhelming for any student who experiences this kind of online bullying.

“School is supposed to be their safe place,” Akbar said. “All of a sudden it isn’t safe anymore.”