A Twitter account popped up this week that appeared to be targeting hundreds of Lake County students. The school district is now looking into it, calling the account one of the worst abuses of social media that school officials have ever seen.
Lake Minneola High School parents were shocked when we showed them the posts on the Twitter account called "Clermont Thank You."
“Oh my gosh, that’s how bullying starts,” said former student Jocelyn Quinones
“You're kidding me!" said Corrine Nagy. "No I never heard of it, I guess I’ll have to ask my daughter about that today.”
The Twitter account was created over the weekend. But despite the name, the posts were hardly gracious.
By the end of school Tuesday, it had more than 800 followers and 400 posts, most of them too vulgar or sexually explicit to show.
“Everyone’s talking about it," said Lake Minneola student Andrew Cruz. "You can’t go to class without someone talking about it.”
Tweets name hundreds of individual students, calling them just about every racial, homophobic and sexual slur you can think of. The least profane posts are calling girls fat or ugly.
“I would never do anything like that to anybody," said Lake Minneola student Ramon Quinones. "I don’t who would think about doing something like that.”
Some upset students posted that things were getting out of control and that these posts could lead to suicide. Finally someone notified the principal, Linda Shepherd-Miller, who left the following voice message for parents:
“The postings are very, very, very inappropriate, very vulgar in nature. I’m requesting you please talk with your child.”
The district notified the Lake County Sheriff’s Office cybercrimes unit who contacted Twitter and had the account disabled, but the investigation is far from over. The sheriff’s office and school district are partnering to try to figure out who is behind the posts. They aren’t ruling out criminal charges.
“We just need to make them aware what you put out there someone sees it, it could be harmful or degrading," said Sebrina Dillon-Banks, Safe Schools Program coordinator. "It could be in violation of school board policy and there could be consequences for it.”