Middle school students investigated for social media misconduct

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Mounties have started investigating Dr. Kearney Middle School students for using social media inappropriately.

Superintendent of School District 60 Dave Sloan did not give too many details, but confirmed that the district is cooperating with the RCMP’s investigation — prompted by irresponsible use of the internet that goes against the school’s, and the district’s, code of conduct.

“We have a responsible user agreement with everybody who has access to our computer network, and it’s to be used for educational purposes and for transferring information in a responsible manner,” said Sloan. “The students involved in this situation were not staying within those boundaries.”

Principal Wesley McKnight said investigations started at the school last week, but the full investigation’s timeline outside of Dr. Kearney Middle School is unclear.

While the Board Office is only aware of information of this nature from school authorities at Dr. Kearney, Sloan said it’s not impossible for students from other schools to be involved — given the nature of the incident and friend circles that span across town.

There’s a lesson to be learned by students, Sloan said, on the permanence of sharing on social media. He added that the district promotes digital responsibility to its students as early as fourth grade.

“They have an obligation to use the resources responsibly, and when they don’t, there are consequences,” he remarked.

Police have been reinforcing this lesson, McKnight added, and teaching students and parents about using their phones safely, as well as the legal consequences — if any — to their misconduct.

The RCMP could not provide an immediate comment on the investigation.