Online "confessions" page sparks controversy - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Online "confessions" page sparks controversy

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WESTON (WAOW) -

A new online phenomenon involving students has people angry, frustrated and calling for action.

There are many pages for high schools and colleges where students can share messages, with just one click. What makes this page different than most, is it's all anonymous.

But school administrators say it's being used for bullying, and are now wondering what they can do.

The Facebook pages are called "confessions" and are described as a place to share secrets. The page for D.C. Everest High School is just one of many.

"There are direct attacks on the credibility of a person and in those statements. They're anonymous so we can't trace them back," D.C. Everest Principal Thomas Johansen told Newsline 9.

Even though the pages are supposed to be anonymous, many of the posts name specific students and contain very offensive language.

"They are hurtful and they do affect my students who are here in a negative way and cause emotional distress and anxiety," said Johansen.

The D.C. Everest page is only a few days old. While some say the page is a bit extreme, they also say it's freedom of speech.

"It's your right to say what you feel or want to say," said Devin Krueger of Weston.

The D.C. Everest principal says he believes in freedom of speech, but that this page takes it to another level.

"When it becomes bullying, harassment, hurtful behavior, I think that's where I have to act," Johansen said.

Not all the posts are negative. Like this one that reads, "make the day great or not, the choice is yours."

But students Newsline 9 spoke with say they just don't like it.

"I think it's awful. I think that the design purpose is kind of cool, but the way kids are using it is not what it should be," said D.C. Everest High School student Michael Nicklaus.

The principal says counselors are available for students who feel bullied.

"Those services are available to kids, as they always have been," said Johansen.

School administrators say they've reached out to Facebook, in order to get the page taken down. They say officials at Facebook are looking into the matter.

Newsline 9 did reach out to officials at Facebook. They told us if a student feels attacked in a certain post, they can report that individual message.

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