Facebook page raises concerns
Facebook page raises concerns

A Facebook page of offensive material about Hedland Senior High School students raised the ire of the school and wider community last week.

The Hedland Yarns page garnered more than 400 friends and had posted scores of status updates before it disappeared on Thursday morning.

It is unclear if the page was removed by Facebook or its creator.

Hedland Senior High School principal John Burke said staff contacted Facebook administrators immediately after the page was brought to their attention to request offensive material be removed, and the matter was also reported to police.

“We are taking all necessary steps to establish if any current students are involved and appropriate disciplinary action will be taken if this is the case,” he said.

“We have also made counselling available to students who have been affected or upset by this matter.

“I have written to all parents urging them to monitor their children’s online activities and reminded them that posting offensive content can be deeply hurtful to individuals and may also have serious legal consequences.”

South Hedland Police Senior Sergeant Mick Hayes said bullying was a difficult issue for police to deal with, as it wasn’t technically an offence.

“When we get reports of incidents like these we will investigate, and if the bullying is persistent and affecting a person’s wellbeing there are avenues we can take, like issuing restraining orders,” he said.

“If it is related to the high school, the school will take action to admonish the people responsible for putting the material online.

“Anyone facing these issues should feel free to contact police, and we will help however we can.”

According to the Department of Education, student access to sites such as Facebook during school hours is banned generally.

As part of the health and physical education curriculum, schools teach students ways to protect their privacy and stay safe online.

Students and teachers also have access to a range of training options related to bullying, including the Bullying No Way website and guidelines for teaching students about resiliency, self-protection and bullying.

For more information on cyber-bullying, parents can visit www.cybersmart.gov.au.

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