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Area educators encourage students to report online abuse

Regional education officials are asking students and staff to report bullying on Twitter after noting a surge in negative social media behavior by students.

Regional education officials are asking students and staff to report bullying on Twitter after noting a surge in negative social media behavior by students.

Crookston High School Principal Lon Jorgensen sent a message to staff and students encouraging them to report social media abuse and notify parents.

Abusive comments can be reported on Twitter's help page, support.twitter.com.

"It's a teachable moment," Jorgensen said Monday. "We just want them to talk with their kids and make sure they're using social media appropriately."

Students in Grand Forks, East Grand Forks, Fargo and West Fargo had been turning to Twitter to post anonymous confessions about their lives that often result in cyber-bullying. Some students in Fargo have filed harassment reports.

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Confessional pages have become a nationwide trend that has also spread to regional schools and colleges.

In response, West Fargo High School set up a "compliment" Twitter account and several of the accounts from other schools -- including one for East Grand Forks -- have been suspended.

Comments from one account called "RR Confessions," which had 419 followers and claims not to be affiliated with "Red River High School in any way" are still visible, though the Grand Forks Public Schools district has been in communication with Twitter to shut down the account, said Superintendent Larry Nybladh.

Students notified the district about the account two weeks ago. The last post on the account was dated March 28.

Nybladh said while the district does not plan to create a positive account like West Fargo, students and parents can anonymously contact the district to report bad behavior through a 24-hour service called text-a-tip. One of the district's strategic plans this year also involves analyzing social media use to improve communication within the district, he said.

Call Johnson at (701) 787-6736; (800) 477-6572, ext. 1736; or send e-mail to jjohnson@gfherald.com .

Related Topics: EDUCATIONTECHNOLOGY
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