Police investigating alleged cyberbullying of Timpview High students
PROVO — Police and school officials are investigating a report of cyberbullying involving Timpview High School students on the popular picture social media network Instagram.
The page came with the hashtag "whorelistnumber" and lists pictures of girls, presumed to be Timpview High School students, with a number ranking. Some of the comments left under each picture make degrading sexual references and may rise to the level of bullying.
The page's creator posted a note that said: "This is an updated look at the girls of Timpview this school year. This is just someone's opinion so don't get offended. Follow at your own risk."
After Instagram was notified of the list, it disappeared from its site.
Timpview Assistant Principal Ford White and his daughter Madi were told about the site and were stunned to discover she was featured on the site.
"I didn't know until a friend came to me she was like 'yeah, you're on there," said Madi, a sophomore at Timpview High. "
Madi was relieved to see the comments about her weren't as cruel, but the Instagram account was filled with disparaging comments.
"They were calling it 'the whore list,' and stuff, and I just feel like that was uncalled for," she said. "The fact that they can hide behind the social media, I feel like that definitely encouraged them to say mean things like that, because they would probably never say that to their face."
Provo City School District officials said they were made aware of the website on Wednesday and were investigating.
"Provo City School District is committed to prevent bullying, including cyberbullying in our schools, and providing a safe environment for our students. This matter is being looked into and more information can be provided at a future point," said district spokesman Caleb Price.
Students and staff at the school were on fall break. Provo police confirmed Thursday that they have launched their own investigation.
Timpview has specific rules against cyberbullying, and Ford White maintains a few social media accounts in hopes of keeping an eye out for problems between students. It's a new form of bullying, he said, but the intent hasn't changed.
"It's just another medium, another form to display that sort of offensive language or offensive targeting of kids," he said.
Ford White worries that the instigators behind the bullying are facing their own "crisis" and need help.
A search of Instagram accounts shows there are several tied to Timpview High School, including pages for Timpview's "sexiest," "cutest couple," "stud muffins" and "hot guys." Many of the comments are complimentary and not all appear to have bullying remarks.
Teens posting pictures of their peers for others to comment on is not exclusive to Timpview High School or even Instagram. There are also Instagram pages of students from Orem and Mountain View high schools.
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