Local News

Benson teens accused of cyberbullying

Posted February 2, 2011 5:10 p.m. EST
Updated February 2, 2011 7:09 p.m. EST

Johnston County sheriff’s deputies have charged two Benson teenagers accused of setting up a Facebook page to bully another student.

Joshua Temple, 18, of 120 Oak Park Drive, and Justin Jackson, 17, of 1715 Creek Bridge Road, each face one count of cyberbullying.

According to arrest warrants, the two set up a Facebook page and posted comments to intimidate and torment a 15-year-old classmate at South Johnston High School.

Temple allegedly posted that he was going to take a gun to school to hunt down the teen, while Jackson posted comments about running him over, the search warrants state.

Johnston County school officials declined to comment on the case Wednesday, but school system policy prohibits all types of bullying and harassment, including online, and warns of student discipline that could include expulsion.

Investigators said the teens set up the Facebook page in September. The 15-year-old’s father reported it to law enforcement when he recently found about it. The teens were charged on Monday.

Temple’s mother said Wednesday that her son is sorry and embarrassed about what happened, but she declined further comment.

Neither Jackson nor his family could be reached.

The National Crime Prevention Council says that cyberbullying affects nearly half of all teens in the United States

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper says it’s a growing problem that needs to be taken seriously.

“It can lead to violence. It can lead to depression in the victim, and it can also even lead to suicide,” he said. “That’s why we need to encourage parents to pay attention to what’s happening with their children and then encourage the parents and kids – that vast majority in the middle who are neither bullies or victims – to stand up and say they’re not going to tolerate this kind of thing.”