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2018-03-08 / Voices

The Cyberbully is an Electronic Terrorist

BY VI WALN
SICANGU LAKOTA

Bullying is at an all time high in our communities. At one time, the bully had to intimidate their victims in person, but that has changed. Computers, smart phones, WIFI and social media sites have allowed the bully to act anonymously.

Wikipedia identifies these electronic terrorists as engaging in “cyberbullying or cyber harrassment.” Teenagers are more likely to harass one another online with “an intent to harm” by “posting rumors, threats, sexual remarks, a victims’ personal information” or “hate speech.”.

Our Lakota students continue to suffer greatly from bullying tactics. For example, St. Francis Indian School cancelled classes and work on February 28 due a threat posted on Facebook. The social media threat contained the name of a local student.

Todd County School District took action to expel a student in connection with this social media post. However, officials later learned that the student in question was innocent and the Facebook profile where the threat was posted was fake.

The student was located and police “spoke with the family of the named student and they have been cooperative with our investigation. Through consent we searched histories on their electronic devices and found no evidence associated with this recently created account.

As counter measures, we are showing a police presence in the schools and working with their administrations to provide safety for our students.”

Law enforcement also stated “All threats towards our schools are taken seriously. When we find the person or persons responsible for this they will be held accountable. If anyone has any information regarding this or any other threats on our schools, please take a screen shot of the account information which will aid us in tracking down the location of where the account may have been created. The account information will include email address and assigned user name, please remember any person can write any name on any account they create.”

The Todd County School District shared on their Facebook page that “a fake Facebook profile was made impersonating one of our Todd County students. A threatening message was made on that page.” The post also stated that the identity of the student was “hijacked by an unknown person. Please be extra kind to the student who had their identity falsely used.”

In a February 22 incident, unrelated to the latest fake Facebook profile, the Todd County High School was “in secure status while a threatening message made outside the school is being investigated.” Police were contacted and the threat was later determined to be unfounded.

When Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media sites were first established, I looked to them to communicate with family and friends. However, due to these recent threats to our children, many of us don’t find social media fun anymore.

The safety of our children while they are at school is paramount. I encourage parents, guardians and extended family members to pay close attention to your children’s social media accounts. There are terrible people living in our homelands and in the larger society! Many have been adversely affected by their own heavy substance abuse. They will spend a lot of their individual energy focused on the negative.

Lakota people who seek ways to harm others need help. The effects of childhood and intergenerational trauma often influence all of our lives here on our homelands. Many of our broken people want to see others just as hurt as they are and they will lash out without considering any consequences.

Please cooperate with school and law enforcement officials as they investigate these threats. The safety of our children and teenagers is an important concern for us all. Be vigilant Relatives!

Consequently, if you’d like to hear what was actually said at the February 12 school board meeting, you can view a video on YouTube at this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RawpoeXJLn0& feature=youtu.be

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