School, Community Dealing With Cyberbullying - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

School, Community Dealing With Cyberbullying

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By: Claire Powell


On Wednesday, the Urbandale Middle School received complaints from students and parents about an Instagram account that targeted and bullied nine students.

The account called "UMS8thgrad" posted photos with comments about the appearance, weight and sexuality of the students. One post even made fun of a student because her father had died of cancer.

The school contacted all parents of those students who were bullied and made sure the students had emotional support.

"We contacted every single parent whose child was involved yesterday. Most importantly was us doing everything we could to support the kids emotionally who were impacted by this post," said Superintendent Doug Stilwell, Urbandale School District.

 The account was disabled immediately, but Stilwell says Instagram cannot say who is behind the account unless the students affected decide to press charges.

However, Thursday afternoon a new Instagram account was brought to the school districts' attention. This one called "UMS8thGrade-Encouragements," was filled with smiling photos of the bullied students with encouraging comments.

One comment read, "You're a great person and a great friend." Another said, "I think you're amazing, you've been through so much."

One student who was bullied even spoke out and commented, "Thank you so much, whoever you are, after what happened today, this literally made me smile, so thanks."

Superintendent Stilwell says he's grateful students are standing up for one another.

"That is far and away the majority of the students in our school district, and probably other districts. It's really gratifying to see students supporting one another," said Stilwell.

This is still an ongoing investigation with Urbandale Police Department and they say it will be hard to move forward until they know who was behind the first account.   


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