Sheridan Instagram Account Raises Cyber Bullying Concerns

SHERIDAN, AR -- Two weeks ago a story surfaced about seven student profiles that were pulled from the Sheridan High School yearbook. Among those stories was one of Taylor Ellis, an openly gay teenager. This caused it to go viral with many national websites and news organizations picking up the story.
Recently an Instagram account surfaced, the username is 'Sheridanhigh'. The pictures posted and the comments is leading one expert to say cyber bullying could happen.
Mike Nelson is the Co-Founder and Director of Keys to Safer Schools, a local organization with a global focus on school safety.  "We find that kids that would have never bullied a student face to face may be bullying a student over cyber means," said Nelson regarding cyber bullying.  "Some have actually taken their life over, not only because of face to face bullying, but also cyber bullying," added Nelson.
"From what I've seen with some of the information, it does seem like that there may be one or two individuals that have kind of gone over the line," said Nelson, after we showed him the 'Sheridanhigh' Instagram page.
That line is one of bullying versus freedom of speech.
Nelson believes the Sheridan School District should get involved.  "It obviously needs to be resolved. It needs to be talked about because if it's not the divisions can deepen," explained Nelson.  "It needs to be inclusive instead of excluding. And for a student to say that it needs to be addressed. I mean, I would think that it needs to be taken down."
But Nelson would go further with teaching students about social chatter.  "There's a major change in the way they see it, and they start to realize the impact that their words have through technology, and they learn."
We did tell the Sheridan Police Chief about the page and he told us he will tell the High School's resource officers to look into the page once school resumes after spring break.
For more on Keys to Safer Schools, click here.

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