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Police Investigate Alleged Cyberbullying Attack Against NJ Students

Manchester Regional High School (credit: Steve Sandberg/1010 WINS)

Manchester Regional High School (credit: Steve Sandberg/1010 WINS)

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HALEDON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Police and prosecutors have launched a criminal investigation into an alleged cyberbullying attack against several students at Manchester Regional High School.

Students said postings on the photo-sharing social network Instagram showed pictures of their classmates –mostly girls — with hurtful and mean-spirited captions, 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reported.

Several girls were called “ugly” and “fat;” one girl was urged to kill herself, Sandberg reported. Another post made fun of an autistic boy, CBS 2’s Weijia Jiang reported.

Ashley Cordova transferred to Manchester Regional High School two years ago to get away from bullies who called her names and now she is worried she could be targeted again.

“One simple word can affect someone’s life,” she told CBS 2’s Weijia Jiang. “Words speak louder than actions sometimes.”

“If it was me I’d be hurt from what I saw, what they put up,” senior Ajunate Nevers said.

The school district has a strict policy against bullying that was adopted after the state passed one of the toughest anti-bullying laws in the nation.

Under the law, schools are required to have anti-bullying programs and coordinators as well as report instances of bullying to the state.

School officials are deferring all comments about the case to the district’s superintendent; his secretary said he is on vacation for the rest of the week, Jiang reported.

Passaic County prosecutors are working with police to identify a suspect. They have subpoenaed Facebook, which owns Instagram.

Criminal charges, including stalking and harassment, could be filed against the alleged cyberbully.

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