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'Phantom person' behind offensive school Facebook page still unknown

ST. PETERSBURG — Pinellas school officials said on Friday they were no closer to figuring out who is behind an offensive Facebook page that had parents and students at Thurgood Marshall Fundamental Middle School buzzing this week.

"That phantom person is still out there," Marshall principal Dallas Jackson said Friday.

The page, titled "Thurgood Hoes," was discovered by school officials on Thursday after a student brought it to Jackson's attention. It contained obscene and offensive remarks about some students, some whose faces were posted online, Jackson said.

Jackson notified parents and students about the page Thursday and sought advice and assistance from St. Petersburg police, who quickly determined that although the site was distasteful and negative, it did not appear to break any criminal laws.

Authorities have not opened an official investigation, although a detective contacted Facebook about the site on Thursday.

Jackson has said if it turns out that a student is behind the page, he or she will be disciplined.

On Friday night, the page was no longer visible to the general public. The same was true for a second page called "Thurgood Hoes Sucks," which popped up online apparently to counter the offending page.

It was unclear if either page had been completely removed.

Facebook officials could not be reached for comment.

Jackson said the situation didn't disrupt school activities on Friday, the last day before winter break.

Andrea Zahn, spokeswoman for Pinellas County Schools, said she can't recall the district getting similar complaints from parents or students at other district schools.

"Most often, those types of concerns or questions would go directly to the school's principal," Zahn said Friday. "We don't monitor external Facebook pages."

She said students are asked to sign an Internet use form that includes guidelines for using school computers. But in the Marshall case, it's not known whether the page was created by a student or not. Or if it was created by a student, it's also not known whether it was created using a school computer.

Facebook lets users anonymously report pages they feel fit one of four categories: hate speech or attacks on an individual; violence, crime or self-harm; nudity, pornography or sexually explicit content; or spam or scams.

'Phantom person' behind offensive school Facebook page still unknown 12/17/10 [Last modified: Friday, December 17, 2010 10:53pm]
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