GRANITE FALLS -- It’s been a stressful few weeks for Carol Luxmore. Her grandson is one of more than 60 students at Granite Falls High School who has had his life threatened on the social media site Ask.fm. He was targeted while chatting with a friend.
“Somebody came on and threatened to kill both of them. The week previous they had threatened the girl more,” said Luxmore.
Just Thursday night, several more students were threatened and the School District alerted parents through their phone alert system.
Ask.fm is an international social media site popular with teens. They go on and an anonymous person asks them questions. Instead, in Granite Falls it’s been used as a hit list.
“It’s incredibly scary and some of the parents aren’t allowing their kids to go to school because they’re scared,” said Luxmore.
“What if something happens? What if someone acts on that threat and I get a call saying your child is in the hospital or worse,” said mom Elizabeth Adams.
Adam’s son was also targeted. She and dozens of parents attended a meeting with police and school officials Thursday night. Many were upset and say the school has not been forthcoming with information, and did not lock down the school when there was a bomb threat in mid-December.
“We are working day in and day out to investigate this because we want this to end as much as parents do,” said Granite Falls School District spokeswoman Elizabeth Holderman.
The district is now working with the FBI to track down the IP address of the person or people making these threats. It’s not known yet if they are local or overseas.
The site Ask.fm has been under fire across the country, accused of being a platform for cyberbullying and linked to the suicides of nine students.
There are privacy settings on the site to block anonymous users. Click on “Settings” and then “Privacy”. Click on “Do not allow anonymous questions”. You can report inappropriate content by hovering your mouse over a post and then flagging it as spam, hate speech, violence or pornographic content. You can also block people by going to the top of their profile and clicking on “Block”.
The Granite Falls School District plans to hold a cyber-awareness meeting with parents on Feb. 11.