School district police in Texas are investigating reports by students and parents that nude and graphic images of female students are being circulated on Snapchat.
District spokeswoman Kristi Lee said Thursday that administrators had received a report Wednesday afternoon and said district police began investigating Thursday morning on both the Cedar Creek and Bastrop high school campuses. She declined to give further details about the case.
A student, who spoke to the Bastrop Advertiser but asked not to be named for fear of harassment, said she was added to the Snapchat account called “CCHS_exposed” Wednesday and was shocked to see lewd photos of her fellow students.
“It made me physically ill,” she said.
It is not clear how the person responsible for the account obtained the photos but the poster encouraged those viewing the posts to send more pictures.
Snapchat is a photo and video sharing social media platform for smartphones where users can post “stories” that can be set to disappear after a set amount of time. However, viewers can save photos with screenshots indefinitely.
The student who talked to the Advertiser and her mother, who also asked not to be named for fear of putting her daughter at risk of retaliation, shared redacted screenshots of posts from the account with the newspaper. One post said, “I can’t post tonight someone snitched I’ll have to do it at random times now look to see if I post something on my story.”
She said she reported the account to district officials Thursday morning, who were already interviewing Cedar Creek High victims. Later, she said a second account called “BHS_exposed” had been created about Bastrop High School students.
Students have staged a campus protest Thursday, sitting in silence with their mouths duct-taped and holding signs that read “Just another victim” and “If you watch this and walk away you’re a bystander.”
“I have been cyberbullied before,” the student said. “I just felt like the teachers were not going to take it seriously. They have so far.”
After the sit-in, administrators sat down with the students and agreed to come up with a solution together to spread awareness.
“Bastrop ISD stands firm in not tolerating bullying or cyberbullying on our campuses,” the district said in a statement. “We appreciate the quick response of students in reporting the incident and in assisting the administration in the investigation, and we will take swift and appropriate action against anyone involved.
According to Snapchat’s community guidelines, users cannot “post, save or send nude or sexual content involving people under the age of 18.” If someone violates the guidelines, Snapchat said it “may remove the offending content, terminate your account or notify law enforcement.”
Users can report safety concerns at support.snapchat.com.
Both accounts mentioned by the student were visible on a search of Snapchat users Thursday. However, the “CCHS_exposed” account appeared to be private or was disabled.
The Bastrop County Sheriff’s Office and the Bastrop Police Department said they were not investigating either case.