Bullying sites wiped out in weeks thanks to ‘good team effort’

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Cllr Hannah Hockaday

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A POLICE officer who worked with teachers to tackle Facebook bullying pages has applauded the teamwork that led to all the sites being shut down.

PC Justine Lewis, schools officer at Park Community School, where 50 students were signed up to one of the so-called ‘burn’ sites, said warnings to children from teachers and police officers helped resolve the issue quickly.

But she said the case was not yet closed and youngsters involved could still face prosecution from senior investigating officers, saying ‘further action has not been ruled out yet’.

As reported in The News yesterday, an estimated 700 youngsters across the region had used the sites to read and post abuse about fellow pupils.

PC Lewis said: ‘I was pleased all eight sites I was investigating were closed within two weeks, as a result of police and schools reporting them to Facebook and young people taking them off themselves.

‘Assemblies on the subject and visits from our officers made a big impact. This could have been complicated and drawn out, as it is often hard to identify the people involved, but the strong message we sent out about the criminal consequences of online bullying was effective.

‘It was a good team effort and I have the schools and safer neighbourhood teams to thank for that.’

PC Lewis said feedback from her assemblies at Park Community was positive.

She said: ‘Students came up to me afterwards and said they were taking themselves off the sites and would not go on them again.’

At other schools, teachers and officers have been reinforcing the penalties of bullying and sexual harassment. PC Lewis added: ‘The lesson is, if you think it’s wrong it probably is.’

And parents should monitor their children’s use of the .’