Twitter suspended an account aimed at harassing State College Area School District students and administrators Monday, but whoever was behind the online attacks isn’t in the clear.
The user or users of the account, called @SCHateTweets, posted the first tweet Thursday targeting about 50 State High students, Principal Scott DeShong and district Superintendent Bob O’Donnell. The tweets ranged from attacking students’ personalities and appearances to alleging sexual promiscuity and drug use.
State High resource officer Terry Stec confirmed with a Twitter representative that the social media company had suspended the account Monday, O’Donnell said.
The school district will investigate to try to determine who created and used the account.
“We always have a duty in our school community that when there are negative communications, whether you term it harassing or cyberbullying, to put an end to it,” O’Donnell said. “We’ve worked with the State College Borough Police Department and Police Chief (Tom) King, and we are committed to continuing an investigation with the end goal of identifying who is behind this.”
King could not be reached for comment.
The tweets were only directed at State High students and administrators despite the account user’s claim that it did not intend to be affiliated with a specific school.
“My initial response was frustration, because I knew immediately it was our students being attacked,” O’Donnell said. “It’s clear the person or people behind this know the students in our schools, so we believe it is a high school student or several high school students and we will hold them accountable.”
O’Donnell did not say what discipline the account’s users would face.
“Whenever you deal with a student who has made a poor decision, you owe it to the process to ask questions and understand what’s been happening, and that’s the first step,” O’Donnell said. “As far what the consequences are, there’s no question my office will be involved. We won’t tolerate this happening.”
O’Donnell tweeted Sunday to ask Twitter users to block the account and said he wasn’t surprised to see messages from students telling the @SCHateTweets users to stop.
“We needed help to put an end to it and interaction with it,” O’Donnell said. “I sent out a note to help students understand we shouldn’t be interacting with that account and with the message that we should not be social with that kind of account.”
Twitter did not return requests for comment.
Anyone with information can contact a school district principal or leave an anonymous tip at 235-4999.