ARVADA - The Arvada Police Department and the Jefferson County School District are investigating a case of cyber bullying.
The case involves postings on Statigram, an Instagram client, by someone with a user name of "Anonymous." The user has a profile picture of a book with the words "Burn Book" written on it.
The posting includes six photos of students at a high school in the Jefferson County School District. The six photos included derogatory and sexual comments about the students.
At the request of the Arvada Police Department and the State Attorney General's office 9NEWS is not identifying the names of students or the high school they attend. Law enforcement expressed concern for the physical safety of those involved.
"My gut reaction is it makes me angry that somebody is that malicious and that deliberate in causing someone else pain," Susan Payne, executive director of Safe2Tell, said.
While the original postings were derogatory comments about the six students, within minutes other students posted dozens of comments supporting the students.
"The thing that inspired me was the response by many of the bystanders who really became up-standers in their support for the victims, because they truly are victims here," Payne said.
Arvada police are actively investigating the case and if the person who made the postings can be identified they could face class 3 felony harassment charges. While the individual made the postings under the user name of "Anonymous," on the internet anonymity isn't always easy to achieve.
"There are ways of tracing IP addresses and where the information comes from, so we're investigating that, and there are charges associated with it," Jill McGranahan, public information officer for the Arvada Police Department, said.
One challenge law enforcement is facing in this investigation is the fact Statigram is not based in the United States. Other social media sites, like Facebook, work closely with law enforcement to quickly remove instances of cyber bullying from their websites and assist investigations.
Police in Arvada have initiated the process to have Instagram remove the postings.
Because of the complications of working with a social media websites based outside this country to resolve problems, law enforcement officials recommend parents know which sites their children are using.
They also stress the importance of quickly reporting cases of cyber bullying so the posting can be removed and investigated