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School chief warns against cyberbullying

A Facebook page has drawn the ire of Evanston Township High School officials.

The page, which currently lists 881 "fans," features hundreds of disparaging comments about the sexual habits of at least dozens of persons who it claims are students at the school, all apparently posted since last Thursday.

A Facebook page has drawn the ire of Evanston Township High School officials.

The page, which currently lists 881 "fans," features hundreds of disparaging comments about the sexual habits of at least dozens of persons who it claims are students at the school, all apparently posted since last Thursday.

Superintendent Eric Witherspoon, in a message to students today, said the site, "is causing embarrassment, humiliation and harm to many people."

He urged students to stop using the page, called "Evanston Rats," and said the site involves "dangerous and illegal" activity that could result in suspension or expulsion from school and possible criminal prosecution.

He referred to a case in Massachusetts in which nine teens were indicted after a girl they allegedly bullied online committed suicide. 

Witherspoon said students should "reflect today, right now, on the kind of human being you will be. No one should ever want to cause embarrassment, humiliation or harm to another human being."

He said that counsellors and social workers would be available at the school for anyone who feels they’ve been victimized by cyberbullying and that school officials would be available to take reports from students of any illegal activity.

Despite Witherspoon’s comments, there was no evidence of a slowdown in postings to the site today.

Update 6 a.m. 4/13/10: Sometime overnight the page school officials complained about disappeared from Facebook. Another page with the same name but without the controversial content remains accessible.

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