Cyber bullies could face criminal charge, expulsion from school after Franklin schools incident

At least 8 middle, high school student targeted

FRANKLIN, Ind. - The student or students who targeted multiple people with cyber bullying could be expelled and face criminal charges.

Franklin police and Franklin Community Schools are investigating after photos and derogatory comments about at least eight middle school and high school students were posted online.

The pictures and comments were posted on the social networking site Instagram, which lets users write and edit captions for photos

"It affects them, and it affects them in their school work," said Franklin High School student Gary Lunsford. "It can impact a whole family, you know."

Parents who learned of the cyber bullying came forward on Sunday, and Superintendent David Clendening took swift action.

"We want to make sure our focus is on learning and education, and when things happen outside of school that take us away from that, that's very concerning," Clendening said. "We have spent a lot of time, energy and effort on this."

Immediately after learning of the cyber bullying, the superintendent contacted the Franklin police, who assigned a detective.

The officer working the case said the posts were disturbing, accusing a student of self-cutting and calling another student suicidal saying, "If I was you, I would be too." 

Whoever posted these things could be expelled.

"They'll receive consequences. I would say pretty severe consequences from our end," Clendening said.

The Instagram posts have since been taken down.

Parents and students told RTV6 they are disgusted by the whole thing.

"It's pretty outrageous that somebody would do that," Lunsford said.

"I'm a mother. I have five children. I know what the bullying does," said Trinity Wadsworth. "I had a child that didn't want to go to school. We've had to come in and talk, when they were younger. It just affects a lot of children."

The superintendent said he's been there four years, and this is the first time he's seen anything like this.

Indiana does not have a cyber-bullying law, but if police find who posted the photos and captions, they could face a misdemeanor harassment charge, which could carry a sentence of up to 180 days in jail.

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