A number of sixth grade students at Weston Middle School were the subject of “offensive and threatening” comments on Instagram, according to Weston police.
The comments were posted under an anonymous Instagram screen name “wms_couples_love” and were directed at both girls and boys.
Speaking to The Forum, on the condition of anonymity, parents said “wms_couples_love” posted photos of their children and many offensive comments about them. Parents said they took screenshots of the comments, which included (expletives edited):
• “You’re a f****** ugly b****.”
• “N*gga da*n”
• “You told me to talk to you. I talk to you every f****** day dumb a** b****. I know you too good so shut the f*** up no one likes you. YOU DON’T DESERVE TO LIVE.”
• “F*** all of you b******. I’m f****** tired of you and can’t wait for all of you to die. Your favorite b****. P.S. Go f*** yourself.”
“This is worse than bullying. It’s cyberbullying, and it’s also threatening,” said one parent. “When I first read, ‘you don’t deserve to live,’ and ‘I can’t wait for all of you to die,’ I got sick, physically sick, then I got angry,” she said.
Parents said those words amounted to more than just typical “mean girl” speech that is common among 11- and 12-year-old preteens. “Saying you don’t want someone to live crosses the line,” one mother said. She said she was appalled, also, by the racial epithet used.
Concerned about the Instagram posts, parents said they reported them to the schools and the Weston Police Department.
On Wednesday, March 5, Amy Watkins, principal of Weston Middle School, sent an e-mail to parents saying police had been notified and were investigating the matter.
Weston Schools Superintendent Colleen Palmer said any time threatening or derogatory comments are made about students it concerns the schools. “Most times the threats are not credible, but if a 12-year-old posts something like this on the Internet, we have to follow up and investigate it,” she said.
Weston Police Detective Carl Filsinger said parents started contacting him about the Instagram posts on Monday, March 3. “We are taking the matter seriously, until we can prove otherwise,” he said on Wednesday. At this time, he said, police have not found anything “that is credible of a real threat.”
He said police are conducting an active investigation into the matter, and are trying to find out the identity of “wms_couples_love.”
“I executed a search warrant with Instagram, and we have those results. We are now going beyond Instagram,” he said.
One of the problems trying to figure out the person’s identity, is that Instagram accounts can be set up anonymously. Instagram is a photo- and video-sharing social network site owned by Facebook, and members’ accounts can be either public, which everyone can view, or private, which can only be seen by people approved by the account holder.
Parents said “wms_couples_love,” whose account is public, copied pictures their children had posted on their own Instagram accounts, which were private, and then posted them on his/her account with the derogatory comments.
Det. Filsinger said Instagram and Facebook have been “very forthcoming,” in the investigation, but no suspect has been identified at this time. “We’re going to the next step,” he said, without further elaboration.
In the meantime, as of this morning, Friday, Feb. 7, “wms_couples_love’s” Instagram account has been cleared of all photos and comments, except for an apologetic statement:
“I am sorry too [sic] all I hurt I will stop. I just wanted attention and I want friends I’m the one who L***** and the outcast tomorrow I’m going to post who I am I’m so sorry.”
An update and further details of this story will be in next week’s issue of The Weston Forum.