Doncaster school pupils could be facing criminal proceedings over the use of ‘gossip girl’ social media sites, that are believed to be used in at least seven of the borough's secondary schools and through which scandalous allegations detailing the sexual activity of students have been posted.
The anonymous rumour accounts, which have appeared on social networks including Facebook and Instagram, have reportedly been used in at least seven Doncaster secondary schools.
The accounts have been set up anonymously, and have been used to publish rumours concerning the alleged sexual activity of students attending Hall Cross Academy, Don Valley Academy, Ridgewood School, Outwood Academy, Balby Carr Academy, Danum Academy and McAuley Catholic High School.
Doncaster school issues warning over 'gossip girl' account detailing pupils' alleged sexual activity
South Yorkshire police have now been brought in to Danum Academy and McAuley Catholic High School, where pupils have also been warned that the creators of, and those who comment on, such accounts could face criminal charges.
A spokesman for Danum Academy told the Free Press: “At Danum, as soon as we became aware of the Gossip Girl pages, the headteacher held assemblies for each year group making them aware of the dangers of the pages and also the illegal nature of the comments being put on them.
"Pastoral teams supported pupils who had felt the impact of some of the negative comments.”
Danum Academy headteacher Ms Staples explained, “We shared any information we gathered with the police as they were also working together to deal with the situation and the pages that were appearing for a number of schools.”
A statement was also posted on the website of McAuley Catholic High School, concerning the issue. It has since been taken down. The statement read: “Please be aware that Young people across Doncaster are accessing the user name Gossip Girl on Instagram.”
It added: “There are a number of Gossip Girl accounts for most if not all of Doncaster secondary schools. Each Gossip Girl conversation includes derogatory comments about dozens of students and their alleged sexual activity.
“South Yorkshire police and I are looking into this collectively but in the meantime can you please remind your child about the dangers and consequences of getting involved in such social media activity.”
A police spokesman confirmed they had been made aware of the account, and are ‘working closely’ with schools across the borough.
Both Balby Carr Academy and Hall Cross Academy declined to comment.
No-one from Ridgewood School, Outwood Academy or Don Valley Academy was available for comment.
Gossip Girl is a popular American teen drama television series that ran between 2007 and 2012. The series was narrated by an anoymous blogger who detailed the exploits of school, and later university, students living in Manhattan’s Upper East Side in New York City.