Suspects responsible for recent cyberbullying attacks targeting State College Area School District students were identified Tuesday.
Superintendent Bob O’Donnell said more than one person ran a Twitter account called @SCHateTweets, which posted its first tweet Thursday. State College Police Chief Tom King said at least two people set up the account, but neither he nor O’Donnell would confirm that they were students.
The account targeted about 50 State High students, Principal Scott DeShong and O’Donnell. The tweets ranged from attacking students’ personalities and appearances to alleging sexual promiscuity and drug use.
O’Donnell said school resource officer Terry Stec and high school principals had identified the people behind the account.
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“We’re currently working with those individuals and those families, and the police are working through their process independently of us,” O’Donnell said.
Stec is leading the police investigation.
“We’re aware of at least two people setting up the account,” King said. “What we’re doing is looking through the tweets that were posted, because they have been captured.”
Most or possibly all of the tweets were captured before the account was shut down, King said.
King declined to say what charges could be filed, but said police and the District Attorney’s Office would work together to determine whether crimes were committed and, if so, whether the charges could be proved.
O’Donnell declined to say what discipline students would face if they were involved with the account, but that the district would adhere to its code of student behavior. He also said the people behind the account affected the State High environment.
“Seeing students being targeted in a malicious manner obviously has disrupted our school environment, and our principals take that very seriously,” O’Donnell said. “Although they have plenty to do in a large high school, making sure students are feeling welcome and safe every day is the highest priority. That’s why, since Thursday night when this began, they really prioritized trying to identify the root cause of this problem, and I’m thankful to them for their efforts.”
Twitter suspended the account Monday.