Reporting Jennifer McLogan
UNIONDALE, NY (CBSNewYork) - Facebook has shut down a “nasty” page after receiving complaints from Uniondale school officials.
Police do not know who created it or why, but the vicious comments – posted by students writing from home – quickly spread to surrounding schools, reports CBS 2′s Jennifer McLogan.
It was given the name “Nassau’s Nasty List” and school officials call it cyber-bullying. It was a Facebook page that detailed alleged sexual encounters of female students at Uniondale High School as well as students from schools in Freeport and Roosevelt.
“The principal got concerned and called the police,” Nassau County Police Det. Lt. Kevin Smith said. “Our officers went down, our detectives are investigating.”
After being alerted to the page by education officials last week, police turned the investigation over to the computer crimes unit. Police are investigating and interviewing complainants to see if any criminality is involved.
“It’s like people saying stuff about you that’s not true,” student Oekeenah Compass said.
“Whatever they’re posting, the family can see it, and it’s not true,” student Tamika Gibson said. “It makes the person feel bad, and cry, and come to school and everybody makes fun of them.”
The school district claims its hands are tied, as a U.S. Supreme Court ruling said that schools can’t be held accountable for students off-campus.
“We don’t think this is a moment in time – it’s a call to action,” cyber-bullying expert Roni Benson said. “This is only going to get worse.”
Benson lectures schoolchildren and their parents on the dangers of bullying, and says bullying prevention must begin as early as preschool.
“The biggest problem is the parents are dropping the ball,” Nassau County Police Officer John Dockswell said.
Officer Dockswell travels the county, spreading the word against parents using Facebook as a digital pacifier for their kids.
Some Uniondale residents are horrified given the fact that cyberbullying has led to student suicides across the nation, including that of a Rutgers University freshman who jumped from the George Washington Bridge last fall after classmates allegedly broadcast his sexual encounter with another man over the internet.
Authorities haven’t charged anyone in connection with the page. Police said they are looking to interview potential victims and said they may subpoena Facebook to find out who created the page.
STATEMENT FROM UNIONDALE SCHOOLS SUPERINTENDENT DR. WILLIAM K. LLOYD:
The Central Administration of the Uniondale School District has been made aware of the situation regarding the involvement of Uniondale High School students with a Facebook page. Although the district does not have jurisdiction over students’ actions outside the school or on social networking sites, administrators notified the authorities and reported the page to the site to have it removed due to the inappropriate nature of the content. Further, the use of the Uniondale High School logo was in direct violation of copyright laws.
There is a zero-tolerance policy regarding bullying and cyber-bullying situations, and the district provides multiple programs and workshops to educate students about the dangers and consequences from participating in this kind of behavior.