Reporting Mike Hellgren
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — A vicious cyberbullying case in Anne Arundel County is the talk of the community.
It’s a story we’ve covered extensively. Eleven students now face punishment.
Investigator Mike Hellgren has more on the fallout from the latest incident at Annapolis High.
The bullying occurred using phones and computers. It spread fast and happened despite tough new regulations and awareness of the problem.
The picture, snapped in secret, of a student at Annapolis High was passed around through texts, with classmates adding nasty messages. It ended up online.
While the school declined to provide details, a spokesman said 11 students are being disciplined.
Junior Adam Crutchley tells WJZ he knows the victim.
“She said she got a lot of hateful comments, a lot of negative things said toward her. She was real upset about it,” said Crutchley. “I know she has friends who are helping her out, making her feel better.”
The case has become the talk on and off campus.
“I have had it happen to me before, and it really is painful,” said senior Hane Carter.
Pat O’Hollaren, a mother and grandmother, praises administrators’ quick action.
“I think that was a good example by punishing them and notifying the parents,” said O’Hollaren. “You can’t pick on anybody because they’re a little bit different.”
A new Maryland law went into effect this month that makes bullying a misdemeanor with possible jail time.
And in Anne Arundel County, there are new social media regulations for students.
Dr. Gabriel Newman is a clinical psychologist and neuropsychologist.
“When you can do something at the click of a mouse, it provides a sense of anonymity. It provides a sense of detachment,” said Newman. “Everybody who gets that picture, who sees it, can download it into their computer, can put it in their smart phone, so we no longer have control of that material, and it’s put there forever. We have to indicate zero tolerance for bullying. We really have to get to that point.”
It is unclear if any of the students involved will face any criminal penalties. The state’s anti-bullying law was named after a 15-year-old named Grace McComas from Howard County. She committed suicide last year after being bullied.
Students at all Anne Arundel County High Schools must take anti-bullying tutorials.
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