Rise of Cyber Bullying: Part One

By KBJR News 1

April 28, 2014 Updated Apr 29, 2014 at 10:50 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - Sophie Schuder is an accomplished high school athlete.

Her high school Cross Country ski team won sections and qualified for state. She is also on a rowing crew and track team.

When the high school senior isn't staying active, she's connected on social media. While surfing Twitter last year, Sophie stumbled upon a troubling tweet addressed to her.

"What they said was very nasty. It was obvious that it was cyber bullying," Schuder said. "I felt confused, self-conscious, and wondering if other people at school thought about me like this."

She wasn't alone. The Twitter account, created by an East High School student, revealed multiple victims, all recipients of sexually inappropriate messages.

"They called some guys at our school homosexuals and really derogatory terms. They accused a coach of checking out his team's girlfriends, he made a list of the top sluttiest girls at school," she said.

Sophie told her parents about the messages and took them to school officials at East

She soon learned she was the first person to come forward about being cyber bullied, even though the anonymous Twitter account had been live for two months.

"Other people found out that I had come forward, they started coming forward too, we were able to find out who made the site in less than 24 hours, and shut it down," she said.

Sophie's mom reached out to police, fearing the tweets may have been indicative of a bigger problem.

"As a parent, I thought about, what if Sophie was the only person being targeted by multiple people. In many ways, that would be a harder call to make, how could that be stopped." Karen Schuder said.

Sophie doesn't regret for a moment coming forward and standing up to the cyber bully.

"I know I helped to stop this student from tweeting about other students and making them feel as horrible as I did. No one deserves to feel like that,"

School officials say despite the hurtful and inappropriate messages, no crime was committed. The student behind the Twitter account voluntarily took it down and took responsibility for his actions.

But cyber bullying in some cases can lead to criminal charges.

We'll take a closer look Tuesday night as we continue our Speak Up Speak Out series.

Written by Kevin Jacobsen
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