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College students hit by cyber-bully nightmare

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: February 18, 2014

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A GROUP of students at Burton and South Derbyshire College have said they are ‘desperate’ to find a way to stop cyber-bullying which has made their lives miserable.

Around 30 people at the Burton town centre site have been plagued by bullies acting through false social media accounts since Christmas, with threats and cruel comments being made on other people’s Facebook walls. On one occasion, a sexual comment was made on a picture of some children related to one of the students.

They have appealed to the college for help, but their intervention does not seem to have worked, which has left the students wondering where they can turn next.

One of the students who has been affected by the bullying, 29-year-old Craig Poxon, told the Mail: “It’s been really difficult. There are quite a few unhappy people and it just keeps coming. How much are you supposed to take? If it comes to everybody not using Facebook, it’s not going to work.”

Hundreds of messages have been sent to the group of students in the past few months

The college advised people to block the accounts when they appeared, but Mr Poxon said new ones were continually appearing.

He said the group were planning to take their plight to the police, as they did not know where else to turn.

“It’s a trust issue,” Mr Poxon said. “From the things they’re saying, it’s someone that knows us, so it’s a trust issue against everybody. I’m just annoyed, but for others it’s been depressing.

“We want to tell people about this to try to stop him. How much further does this need to go before someone tried to do something about it?”

John Beaty, vice-principal of the college, said the welfare of students and staff was ‘paramount’, adding: “We will always support any students who are concerned about external social media ‘trolling’ to ensure that they are managing their social media profiles effectively and that they understand mechanisms to report unwanted contact through specific social media sites or to the police. We will not tolerate any negative behaviour towards our learners and will always respond robustly to any incidents that are within our control.”

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