'Confessions' pages used to attack high school students, teachers

By Manuel C. Coppola

Both Nogales and Rio Rico high schools reported on Thursday that someone, presumably a student or students, launched the confessions pages that included comments that “degrade students and teachers,” said NHS Principal Judith Mendoza.

“Somebody has to administer these comments,” she said. “They must be approved and then posted. They do not post automatically.”

The “NHS Confessions” page was created on or about Jan. 4, Mendoza said, but comments started rolling in on Jan. 27. By yesterday morning, there were 324 “likes,” or acknowledgments of interest, along with several postings.

Working with the Nogales Police Department and the school resource officer, NHS contacted Facebook and had the page “taken down” or removed from online. But it was back up shortly after noon and had gained popularity, boasting 400 likes, Mendoza said.

“It was a similar scenario” at Rio Rico High School, said Rod Rich, superintendent at Santa Cruz Valley Unified School District No. 35. The comments were similar in nature, some of which “could be perceived as bullying.”

Both schools had the pages removed several times and they kept re-appearing. But by Thursday both pages were inactive.

“It’s hard to pinpoint who exactly posts these originally,” Rich said. “But it can be assumed who did and this kind of thing creates conflicts on campus” beyond the defamation or hurtful comments.

Both schools sent emails to parents asking them to talk to their children and monitor their social media usage as well as warning of the consequences of either creating these pages or posting derogatory remarks.

NUSD Student Code of Conduct shall be applied to all off-campus conduct that may adversely impact the district’s educational mission, environment, cause disruption of the educational process, or threaten the safety and security of other students or school personnel,” Mendoza wrote in the NHS letter.

NPD and the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s office are conducting investigations. Medoza said NPD has asked Facebook headquarters to preserve information regarding the creation of these pages while officers “acquire a subpoena” to access the data as part of its investigation.

Schools in other parts of the state have reported similar issues.

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