Instagram page showing Cumberland County school fights draws cyberbullying concerns

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- A Fayetteville mother is outraged after she discovered an Instagram page documenting local fights in Cumberland County Schools.

Misty Mathis found out about the page after she said her daughter, Serenity, was attacked at Westover Middle School. Mathis spoke exclusively to ABC11.

Serenity Ware likes to keep the peace so when another student threatened to fight her, she went to her mom, Misty, for help.

"From there, I contacted the school on Friday letting them know what happened and they told me they were going to go ahead and take care of it," said Mathis.

Mathis said administrators at Westover Middle School held a peer mediation but by 2:30 p.m., she got the phone call that she tried desperately to prevent.

"I got a call saying Serenity had been involved in an incident and it didn't seem like it was that much, "said Mathis.

That was until she saw a video posted to Instagram showing her sixth grader being dragged down the hallway.

"That as a parent is heartbreaking. It's extremely heartbreaking to see that video," said Mathis. "I have real concerns because that video had been posted several times before she had even gotten home which leads me to believe this was a premeditated attack and I have a problem with that."

When Serenity's mom went to check out the Instagram page, she found an account titled "Unknown Spamz" showing several fights that students said were at Westover. ABC11 gained access to the page. One video showed a student being repeatedly beaten on the bus. In the other you can hear a student saying "go" before the brawl breaks out.

"As a parent. You see red. You are furious because you are defenseless. You send your kids to school thinking they are going to be protected and that's what happens," said Mathis.

Mathis is working with the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office to file assault charges, but she wants the school district to address her cyber-bullying concerns.

"Even though you may not be the one that's actually attacking someone, you posting it is further perpetuating that issue. You're a part of the problem. It's unhealthy. It's unsafe. Someone can really get hurt. Children are so fragile," Mathis explained.

Ware told ABC11 she just wants it all to stop.

"I want people, in general, to leave people alone because it hurts their feelings and people can commit suicide from that. It's kind of heartbreaking," said Ware.

So far, Cumberland County Schools said they've reported the page to Instagram, requesting the removal.

The school's spokesperson Lindsay Whitley sent ABC11 the following statement reminding students of the code of conduct:

We take this situation very seriously. Providing every child with a top quality education, in a safe and orderly environment, is our top priority. School officials have addressed this situation and followed the appropriate procedures.

Behavior that infringes on the safety of students will not be tolerated. It is our expectation that all students will conduct themselves in an appropriate manner on school grounds and while riding the bus. Students and parents are encouraged to report any incidents to school administration.

Annually, we provide students and parents with a copy of the Student Code of Conduct, which clearly expresses our expectations for students as well as consequences when those expectations are not met.
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