Mom Goes on Mission to Squash Cyber Bullying Efforts at San Diego School

An Instagram account encouraged students at O'Farrell Charter Schools to make mean posts about students they didn't like

NBC Universal, Inc.

A San Diego mother made it her mission to get an Instagram account that encouraged student bullying deleted after she found out it was targeting young girls, including her daughter, at an area charter school.

Janin Coleman was alerted to the problem on Feb. 4 when her 7th-grade daughter came home from O’Farrell Charter Schools.

"My daughter came home asking. 'Can we change schools?'" Coleman said.

Her daughter, 12, raised the question after seeing herself on an anonymous Instagram page encouraging students to post pictures of other students they don't like.

"It hurts my heart," said Coleman. "I mean, it's a pain that you can't describe because you're powerless, you know? You want to protect your child as much as possible."

In the caption of the photo, the account called Coleman's daughter "mean and annoying.' In the comments, some came to her defense and said she was "sweet."

Comments about the other girls not only belittled their personalities, but their looks, too.

"The research shows that students who are targets of bullying, they feel less safe at school. They're more likely to not want to go to school. They have a harder time learning. You can't learn when you feel unsafe," explained Kelsey Young with the Anti Defamation League.

Coleman made it her mission to shut the page down when she found out about it.

"I fear for all the children. She wasn't the only one on the page," Colemanm said.

After emails and a visit to the school, the school told Coleman a police warrant was needed to shut the page down, and her two attempts at filing a police report online were denied.

NBC 7 is still waiting on the San Diego Police Department to explain why Coleman's first report didn't meet state laws for threatening or harassing electronic communication.

Because O'farrell is a charter school it has its own superintendent. The superintendent said they met with students who may have information about the account, tried to identify who was behind it, collaborated with the families of targeted students and reported the account to Instagram multiple times.

"I feel like the school is supposed to protect the child and they didn't do it fast enough," Coleman said.

NBC 7 reached out to Instagram to alert them to the posts. They’ve since been taken down.

A spokesperson for the social network said they don't allow users to bully or harass other users on the platform, and said the posts were removed in accordance with those rules.

While that's great news, Coleman is one of many parents worried that similar pages might pop up.

Contact Us