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Two Toms River High Schools Add Police In Response to Online Bullying

Website saw "flood of abusive posts" and superintendent asks for additional officer, patrol car at North and East

An increased police presence at Toms River High Schools and this week comes after concerns of online bullying and harassment of students at the two schools.

Toms River Regional Schools Superintendent Frank Roselli said website hsmemes.com had "a flood of negative and abusive postings" between students, but posted anonymously, and this prompted the superintendent to ask for additional police presence at the two high schools yesterday.

Roselli said the have been monitoring the site and made the decision Monday night to add police presence at the two schools. Tuesday an additional office and police car patroled high schools North and East but the day otherwise proceeded without interruption.

"The nature of several of the comments resulted in a decision I made last evening with our local chief of police to provide an additional officer and an additional police car outside of HSE and HSN," Roselli said in a prepared statement last night. "I was at HSN this morning and Jim Hauenstein was at HSE. The school day proceeded normally. All of our students are safely in their classes and all schools have normal operations.”

Though the online bullying did not translate into an in-school disruption yesterday, Roselli said there will be a continued monitoring of the website, and continued presence in the schools.

Tracking who made the online threats is under investigation.

The site hsmemes.com allows for anonymous posting and does not track the IP addresses of its users, said the school district.

“The fact that this organization does not collect the IP address of the registrant is problematic," said Toms River Regional Schools Director of Technology Linda Sorrentino in a prepared statement. "Without this, students can register anonymously without fear of being tracked.  We have come across websites like this that work outside of the United States and therefore do not cooperate with law enforcement. This is the first such website I have seen in the U.S.”

The impact social media sites have on bullying and harassment is challenging, Roselli said.

“Social media is a constant concern and challenge for school officials and we are having an issue with one particular web site ... in that it allows postings that contain foul language and is completely anonymous," Roselli said.

The site has been blocked from all district computers, meaning it can no longer be accessed from classroom, library or other desktop computers in the schools. The district is trying to contact the website to get the Toms River schools removed from the social media site, Roselli said.

However, the issues with students using hsmemes.com to harass other students must be monitored by parents as their children access the site from home, Roselli said.

“This site is blocked at all of our schools and we would encourage parents to monitor their child’s online activity and social media presence on the web," said the superintendent.

The dealing with the incidents are a matter of , but students should also be aware of how to use social media, he said.

"As part of our ongoing program to eliminate Bullying, Intimidation and Harassment, we will always teach our students that social media requires personal responsibility," Roselli said.

Chief Wahoo April 04, 2012 at 03:55 PM
hire a thousand more cops @ $90,000 each and put one in every class and next year hire 30,000 more cops and have them hold every students hand as they walk down the halls......we can never have too many cops
Josh Luker April 04, 2012 at 04:40 PM
Reads story at APP.com - Chases 'lead' for own story the next day
Melissa Gabriel April 05, 2012 at 01:07 AM
it is ridiculous that sites like this allow students to post anonymously. My daughter is a student at manchester and told me yesterday of the hsmemes.com site. I went on and was appalled by what I read. There is constant bullying with students full names in the post, there are posts about teachers one stating if a certain teacher (who was named) did not give them a passing grade they would rape that teacher. I thought NJ had the strictest anti-bullying laws in the nation, obviously this is not so. This site and sites like it should be shut down. Children are taking their own lives because of bullying, this is totally unacceptable !!!
Seriously? April 05, 2012 at 02:19 AM
"The site has been blocked from all district computers, meaning it can no longer be accessed from classroom, library or other desktop computers in the schools. " Big deal. Most of the posts were done after school was out, on that nice laptop or iPhone that Mom and Dad bought for them so they could be cool like their friends. These kids are a bunch of immature jerks that we are turning loose on society in 1-4 years. Sad and very scary to think that this may be the future of America unless their parents wake up and deal with them.
Josh Luker April 05, 2012 at 04:02 AM
Wrote mean things on bathroom wall in 1988 - now wants to lecture kids not to "bully" but still thinks Samantha was a total richie toad
Ken G April 05, 2012 at 11:52 AM
The site covers TRS, TRN, TRE, Manchester, and Central. The initial posts were horrible, I dont know why their blocking it from district computers, since the students aernt posting from the District Computers. And btw, when I first discovered this website on Sunday after my facebook stream was flooded with posts about it, some of the "memes" included "Nobodys killed themselves yet.....TRY HARDER!!!!", some targeted parents as well. The worsts of the posts came from TRS, followed closely behind was TRN. This website doesnt need to be cleared every day, it needs to be SHUT DOWN. It's much worse than anyone thinks, and if you saw the initial posts before the wipe a couple days ago, you would see that this MUCH more of a problem than anyone thinks. The "Cool" parents need to stop acting like their kids bestfriend and be their PARENT.
Gino De Lucia April 05, 2012 at 01:07 PM
Finally: there's a light at the end of the tunnel~ proof that all of the youth of today aren't oblivious to reality! Great post Ken: keep up the good work; we need more young citizens like you!
Joseph Herbert April 05, 2012 at 01:38 PM
Every computer post, even from an Ipod or Droid phone can be traced. All of the systems, regardless of manufacturer, has an I[ndividual] P[rocessor] number that is unique to it. Even the so-called "Burner" phones can be traced, by active location, they are more difficult because the seller doesn't register the owner's name like the other sellers might. All the TR Police or the School Board needs to do is get the State Crime Lab "Cyber" Crimes Unit to trace a few of the more odious ones, then a few police visits, a few phone confiscations, a few trials and its over.
Seriously? April 05, 2012 at 02:00 PM
This stuff was bathroom humor at its worst -- It's bad enough that our tax dollars were spent having the cops babysitting the three high schools for this nonsense -- we don't need the State Cyber Crimes Unit involved. The schools took care of it Tuesday. By 6:00 pm all the offending posts were deleted and as of last night the only ones that were up were ones that were very tame (mostly complaining about First Amendment Rights). Now if only the parents of these morons would get their heads out of their backsides and supervise their kids.... As kids, we all either were bullied or did the bullying ourselves. Was it right? Absolutely not -- but kids have been cruel since the beginning of time. But most of us GOT OVER IT (including myself, who was the butt of many a nasty joke for most of grammar school). School is 12 years of your life, which in the bigger picture of things is really not a lot. If a kid attempted suicide back in the day it was more often than not because of other underlying issues, not because the kid was bullied in school. Our kids today should have better coping skills than they have, and as parents it's our responsibility to teach them those skills. Too bad that today's parents are too busy trying to be their kids' friends instead of their parents.
Xavier April 05, 2012 at 02:04 PM
Oh my goodness. Do more research... please.
Project Bluebeam April 05, 2012 at 02:26 PM
I suggest you research teen suicide rates. They have grown exponentially in the last decade. The problem is that the media focuses on GLBT bullying and ignores all others. If a kid dies by his/her own hand, does it really matter if he/she was bullied because of their sexual orientation or their weight? They're dead.
Josh Luker April 05, 2012 at 03:12 PM
reads something mean somebody said about somebody - wants to burn constitution and install martial law
Miangel0187 April 05, 2012 at 03:34 PM
Ive been in this school district my whole life, and I was a student in middle school right after Columbine happened, when the bullying laws and zero tolerence were supposedly at their strictist. When i was in 8th grade a kid was bullied for being gay, he brought a gun to school. Luckily he told someone and he was escorted off campus and suspended for two weeks. He was then allowed back to school no counseling and his bullies...no punishment at all. In high school bullying was worse I watched a kid get kicked in the face so hard his jaw was shattered, his bully got 3 days suspension and his victim got his jaw wired shut. Bullying was so bad kids dropped out, hit lists were made and the only change I saw was in the amount of kids who became bullys to avoid being victims. I was bullied by a group of girls on year, and I reported it to the priniciple who made me face the girls who "wanted to beat me til i couldnt see straight" thats a direct quote. He put me in harms way and when I left and went home for my own safety that he put in jeopardy I got detention Zero Tolerence and Anti-Bullyin anything is flawed it is meant to clear the minds of those is charge of any guilt and punish the victims. Its that simple, the fact is we are not kids being kids, all thos bullys know exactly what they are doing and how to get away with it...People need to wake up
proudnot2bliberal April 05, 2012 at 08:01 PM
Know let me say I am NOT a fan of lawyers 90% are lowlifes just ahead of contractors. BUT things will not change till the irresponsible parents are brought into court & they are sued for everything they have. For the nay sayers this isn’t the "bullying" of decades ago when "we were" in school it is far worse. Don’t believe me ask a friends teen, as ken said time for parents to grow up & quit being he kids best buddy & be the adult! Oh my your kid might not like you but at least they won’t end up in the county jail next to TR south
Dawn April 06, 2012 at 11:30 PM
Ok every one hear is ganging up on the kids and you are right and trust me i am a parent of a child who was made fun of and also told to kill himself over it but i feel like where does the responsibility lie with this website. You give a bunch of teenage kids a place to create photos and let them post them anomyously and what did they think would happen. What i don't understand is why can't the police do something about this site it is cyber bullying at it's best. Really we as parents should monitor our childs use of the site at home. How about somebody do something about this site. I mean it should be against the law to open a website that does not collect ip address. This whole thing has me so disgusted yes the kids should know better but in some cases we are talking about 15 and 16 year old immature kids. What about the adults who made this web site they are the ones who should be brought up on charges for child endangerment. You can't tell me they really expected this site to not be a bully site. When they allow one of their Memes creating pictures to be a man with a joint in his mouth. Good luck contacting them I've done it since monday when this site caught on around here and asked them to please take down all posts with childrens full names and anything about sucide or just plain mean ones. No response.

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