Gaston Co. students could be given at least three months in jail for cyber-bullying

Gaston County students could be given atleast three months in jail for cyber-bullying

GASTON COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - It’s human nature to be curious, but what would you do if AirDrop suddenly sent something to your phone? Would you open it? Gaston County law enforcement is warning – don’t as a dirty video has been sent to students around Holbrook Middle School.

Things are easy to spread, but there can be consequences to pay. There could be felony charges for all students involved in a pornographic video, involving a pet. This all started with an Airdrop message on an iPhone. A student at Holbrook Middle sent out the x-rated video – from there, it continued to spread.

Students eventually started accusing one specific classmate of being the person in the video. Bullying and teasing followed. But, investigators say it was a lie – that student wasn’t in the video – and now the kids who started the rumor committed a crime of cyberbullying.

“They could be big trouble,” said attorney William Harding.

Harding is out of Charlotte and has a second office in Gastonia. He’s not connected to this case, but given his legal experience, he adds that a judge or jury could decide any of the students involved need to be sent to jail for up to three months and pay a fine of $500 for the bullying.

“If you have a prior conviction, of this statue, then you look to up to a year in jail as well as a $1,000 fine. So, there are some pretty stiff penalties,” Harding said.

Harding believes you may not be able to control everything sent to your phone, but there are ways to make sure you stay out of trouble.

“If there’s a lesson here, just because they sent it to you, that doesn’t mean that you should accept it. I just hit delete,” he advised.

Hit delete. That, police advise too. Or, save it, but do not open it. Police say they are working to find every student who was involved.

“Those officers who are investigating this situation have their hands full,” said Harding.

He says he hopes students and parents are listening and taking this seriously.

“What they do now can follow them for the rest of their life. While they may think it’s just a prank or a joke, our laws here takes it very seriously,” said Harding.

If a weird video pops up on your phone, you can take the information straight to the police to make sure your name is cleared of any crime. Gaston County school officials are also investigating.

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