Ft. Bend ISD investigates alleged cyber-bullying

April 13, 2010 4:35:30 PM PDT
Officials with Fort Bend Independent School District are applauding Facebook's launch of a redesigned safety center, in the wake of an alleged case of cyber-bullying involving local students. On April 7, a FBISD student reported to the administration that a popular social media site displayed names and associated derogatory remarks of female students at three FBISD high schools. FBISD administration immediately began to investigate the allegation, according to a statement from school officials.

The investigation included interviews of students by campus administration and FBISD Police. The investigation reports that the offensive material began to be discovered by students Tuesday evening, April 6, and that it was removed later that evening around 11:45pm. However, Wednesday afternoon, April 7, a new site that contained similar information was reported by students to the FBISD Police.

Students, parents, FBISD Police and Technology Department staff reported the content violation to the social media company through the site's only reporting option, a "Report" button. This particular social media company does not provide confirmation of the reported offense or any follow up if the offensive material has been removed. Finally, after utilizing unofficial communication avenues to the social media company and explaining that the posted material did not adhere to their Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, the site was closed around 11:30am Friday, April 9.

FBISD Police has consulted with Fort Bend's District Attorney's office that has determined that a chargeable offense appears to have occurred. Consequently, without evidence that the offense occurred on school district property or with school district resources, FBISD Police have closed its investigation and the investigation is being turned over to the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office.

Facebook and its Safety Advisory Board launched a new redesigned Safety Center with resources for parents, educators, teens and members of the law enforcement community about staying safe while using Facebook. The initiative is the first major collaboration between Facebook and its global Safety Advisory Board, which it convened in December 2009.

Fort Bend ISD has encouraged Facebook to take a more proactive approach to its security measures and the prevention of online harassment/bullying. District officials say they're pleased Facebook has launched the New Safety Center.


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