Online Gossip Pages Spell Controversy For High Schools

Created: 02/18/2014 10:57 PM
By: John Doetkott

(ABC 6 News) -- A student in Rogers, Minnesota could be charged with a felony for a simple tweet.   

Someone posted on an anonymous gossip site that the teen had inappropriate contact with a teacher. He then replied "Actually, yes" but now says he was being sarcastic.  

He's been suspended for two months while the teacher has been cleared of any wrong doing.       

The site, "Rogers Confessions," has since been taken down, but ABC 6 found similar sites geared toward schools in our area, and what's being written is disturbing.

The site we came across is a Twitter account called “Packer Secrets” with postings from current and former Austin High School students.  

From comments about underage drinking to sex at school, parents might be shocked at what teens are putting online.

One of the first tweets on the “Packer Secrets” page names two specific students and includes a death threat because the poster was upset that they're supposedly in a relationship.

And the tweets only get more graphic from there.

The person behind the account promises anonymity in exchange for stories, and students have responded with rumors of sex, drugs, and alcohol use, sometimes in school and calling some students by name.

ABC 6 showed the account to Austin Superintendent David Krenz who said he would pass it on to the school principal. But unlike what happened in Rogers, Krenz said there isn't much officials can do until the rumors start causing problems in school.

"We as a school cannot step into their private life just because they're a student,” Krenz said. “What they do privately is up to them. Now when it steps over that boundary and interferes with the education of them, or any individual that it interferes with, then the school has the right to step in."

Krenz said generally students are good about coming forward when online rumor mills are causing problems for their peers, but said it's up to parents and teachers to educate students about what's acceptable to put online.

"We feel that a true obligation that we have on our part is to help teach and educate the kids in the appropriate use of technology,” Krenz said.

ABC 6 also found another account encouraging students to post pictures of Austin and Albert Lea students' backsides. 

School officials said they are reviewing their policies regarding social media, and in Austin they plan to bring in an expert to talk to both students and parents about the issue.