Cyber scares

Instagram pages range from harmless to threatening

Over the past few months, SHS has had several Instagram pages dedicated to the happenings at school. These Instagram pages have ranged from something as little as sleeping students to threats being made towards SHS.
These accounts are essentially all anonymous, and even though some may seem funny and like not a big deal, SHS administrators will still take all accounts notified to them as if it was a big deal. Principal Brian Knight says sometimes accounts could start off innocent, like the SHS fight page, and then could turn into a direct threat towards someone within the school and administration doesn’t know what some accounts could lead to.
“I think overlooking them and just saying ‘Oh, that’s not a big deal’ we rarely do,” Knight said.
Since the accounts are mostly all anonymous, with no person to connect it to, administrators can’t specifically call down a person to talk to them about it, so what they will do is report the account to Instagram.
The consequences for these accounts could vary due to the severity of them.
“Like the Southport Sleepers one, if we knew who owned that would we throw them out of school? No.” Knight said. “That would probably be more like a conversation of trying to correct an issue because it’s not one that is not necessarily belittling people.”
In the case of other accounts, ones that are harmful to other students, Knight says if the administration could figure out who they are, he might expel them.
Accounts that make direct threats towards the school or another person within the school are a different story. Depending on what was said, sometimes law enforcement gets involved. Knight says law enforcement can get warrants, which they can serve to Instagram to give up the information of the owner of the account. Say an account made a shooting threat towards the school and law enforcement finds out who it was, they would arrest them and press some severe charges.
As to why these accounts and threats are being made, the administration doesn’t know.
“I don’t think there’s any rhyme or reason why some of these things happen,” Assistant Principal Joe Horvath said. “I think some of these things happen for attention, I think other things happen because people don’t take it seriously and think that they are just being very flippant about a statement and then the next thing you know it blows up to where it’s at.”
This is how freshman Zeur Taylor feels as well.
Both agree it could most likely be for attention, but Taylor says their points of view could also have an impact on it.
“It depends on the situation,” Taylor said. “I honestly think it’s for attention because I don’t see anything, like why someone would want to do that in the first place, but it just depends on their viewpoints and how they’re thinking.”
While most of them could be for attention, there could be other reasons for these things to be happening.
Freshman Tara Steeb says these accounts could be cries out for help.
“(With) this school, while we do have good grades and everything, the bullying and harassment is insane,” Steeb says. “There’s also a lot of pressure on the students with all the tests they are giving us.”
Steeb says with the amount of stress and how overworked students are, if one throws in a mental illness like anxiety or depression, somebody is going to act out.
“It’s not so much actually trying to make a threat as ‘I need help, but I’m scared to ask for it,’” Steeb said.
Horvath wonders the same thing about the possibility of these coming from mental illnesses.
He says that the world we live in today has become so unpredictable and that the pandemic has exposed holes in our mental health system. He says that they never know if someone who has made a threat is seeking attention or an actual unstable person. With that said, he says any threat they get they take extremely seriously.
There are things the administration tries to do to stop these accounts, like reporting them, but there is only so much they can do as adults, Knight says. Ultimately, if students are sick of the bullying they are seeing from these accounts, they need to take action.
“That’s how it’s gonna end is you guys have to say it’s enough,” Knight said.