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The Columbus School News Portal

The Discoverer

The Columbus School News Portal

The Discoverer

Secret Instagram Account Shakes Up TCS

Student looking at an Instagram story posted by the anonymous account.

During the first whole week of school, an anonymous Instagram account, presumably a student prank, sparked concern; its creators remain a mystery as investigations into its origins continue.

The account was linked to an app in which students could write anonymous messages, and the owners of the account would publish them on the Instagram story. Students say it started out as a confession page but quickly escalated from teen gossip to hurtful messages, leaving many TCS members affected.

“The Instagram account was created to leave unkind comments about other students, some maybe say jokes but when you look at them it seems a little bit more offensive towards members of the school community,” Mathew Lawrence, HS Vice Principal, said.

While the investigation continues, the TCS community is left with many questions. Many express their concerns about online safety, responsible social media use, and how to prevent things like this from happening. The school staff and administrators are committed to resolving the ongoing investigation ensuring that a sense of security is restored within the school’s digital landscape.

“I’m hoping that we are able to identify who was behind it. But really I think the biggest thing we can do to be proactive and prevent something like this from happening is creating a culture and an environment where people aren’t motivated to do things like that,” Paula Navarra, HS Principal, said.

Students claim that the problem was how fast things escalated with the account, from seemingly harmless comments to hurtful and offensive ones like body shaming and calling out people on things they have done in the past. Some of the comments were between friend groups, in which they reassured that everyone was aware that someone would say something about another friend as a joke.

“In my experience, I know that the comments that were posted about me were my friends messing around with me. I could understand how other people get really affected by these comments, saying unpleasant things about them. We as a group of friends made an arrangement that between our friend group it’s okay if the person who the comment is about knows about it, but if it is from another person the comment should not be made,” Daniel Franco, Grade 10, said.

Although the account started out being known only by students, the TCS administrative staff realized what was happening with the help of several students who reported the page not only to the school but also to Instagram. Many of the students and staff then started to wonder who was really behind this and how fast they could take it down. Working as a community, the school was able to apply pressure and the account has since been deleted.

“I still don’t know who created it, but after a while, I think everyone just knew it was wrong. I realized this account was bringing TCS down since it even had the school’s logo on its profile picture. I’m not sure who started reporting it, but I was also part of the people who reported the page to Instagram and to the administrative staff too,” Anonymous said.

The most significant consequences that the school has for bigger conflicts like this are unschooling sanctions or even an immediate enrollment cancellation. This all depends on a committee that can evaluate the repercussions of the situation the student or students would be in. If Colombia’s legal system was involved, these implications would be much more profound, mentioning a chapter of the Manual de Convivencia that talks about digital citizenship. Including the topic of cyberbullying, in which there are about 6 accusations within the penal code that could be held against the individuals and their families, resulting in legal consequences.

“It’s a very delicate topic, in an ideal world this should not exist, this should not happen because all the coexistence with each other and so much time spent here in school leads you to think that these types of things would never even happen. However, I think it’s an excellent opportunity to begin to accentuate precedents and for things to change within our school,” Karol Marín, HS Teacher, said.