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Blogspot: Your hate crime on the internet will stay with you forever

Your Say / Sun 27th Jun 2021 at 11:50am

EARLIER this month, Burnt Mill Academy reported a social media post to the police.

The statement from the school was as follows:

“At the start of the half term break we were made aware of a social media post being shared widely which made several allegations about Burnt Mill Academy, a senior member of staff and action taken by officers at Harlow Police Station”

“We can categorically state that the allegations are false”.

The false statement was incredibly cruel and vindictive. The victim probably went though hell and may well still be going through hell.

YH can relate to this. Last year, a Harlow resident pled guilty to placing a malicious communication on social media.

Next month, our editor will be speaking in Parliament to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Michael will be joined by a number of other journalists from around the country who have suffered horrendous on line abuse. Fine journalists such as Patricia Devlin in Northern Ireland and Amy Fenton in Cumbria have had their lives turned upside down. Others have had death threats.

But this article is an appeal to the young people in Harlow who think it is a laugh or acceptable to write poisonous things on social media.

The reality is that you are leaving a big digital fingerprint on the internet that will stay there forever.

It is not like the old days but in thirty years time, your comments or an IT trail will still come back to you.

You may think you have covered your tracks but the trouble is that you probably can’t cover your mouth. You will probably have a desperate need to tell folk and you know, folk will tell others and before you know it, that will be on the internet.

Cyber-bullying is a horrendous problems for schools and they do everything in they right to deal with it. However, the reality is that the perpetrators are committing criminal offences. That may be the Malicious Communication Act, the Protection from Harassment Act or a good old fashioned Public Order Act.

So in many ways, the guidance, mediation, advice, counselling and restorative justice you receive under the age of eighteen, simply becomes a crime when you are over eighteen.

And if your answer to that is that the authorities, whether that be the police or the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) may not get involved but your name may/will be entered as “soft intelligence” on the Police National Computer (PNC) and so come the day that you start applying for jobs, well, good luck with that.

The reality is that you are not getting the break of being stupid in your younger days. It is going to stay with you. So, don’t do it.

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Full statement from Burnt Mill Academy

At the start of the half term break we were made aware of a social media post being shared widely which made several allegations about Burnt Mill Academy, a senior member of staff and action taken by officers at Harlow Police Station.

We can categorically state that the allegations are false.

When these kinds of posts are screenshotted and shared across various platforms it can be difficult to trace the original source, but in this case, we have been able to identify the original prank/fake news website used to create the false news story.

Essex Police, Burnt Mill Academy, and BMAT take online abuse very seriously and this offence has been recorded under the classification of Sending letters etc. with intent to cause distress or anxiety, as per the Malicious Communications Act 1988.

We’d like to thank the parents and carers who bought the post to our attention, and who voiced concern for the wellbeing of the member of staff who is a victim of this crime. We will be working further with Essex Police to highlight to our students the effect these kinds of posts can have on the victims, their families and the wider community.

If you or your child have any information that may help identify the author of the original post, Essex Police have asked anyone with information to contact 101 and give the crime reference number 42/100403/21

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