(ALBANY, N.Y.) — It was like March Madness — but with what school officials say was a cruel and personal twist toward cyberbullying.
Authorities were investigating a Twitter account that created a competition for the best looking girls at Shaker High in Albany, N.Y. The anonymous account holders of @SHSBracketology selected four students from each grade and called for classmates to rank them by their looks.
“May the best girl win,” the account wrote.
The idea quickly received backlash from former and current students. Shortly after it surfaced, the school’s principal, Richard Murphy, reached out to the Colonie Police Department to help deal with the situation.
Within 24 hours, the account had been deactivated, but not before upsetting those featured on the bracket challenge.
“It didn’t make me feel good. I would be walking down the halls and there were these groups of guys clapping at me,” said student Kara Crodelle. “I thought they were better than this. I was embarrassed.”
High school officials have likened the account to a form of cyberbullying, but said police won’t be considering criminal charges. The parents of the students involved were also contacted.
Psychotherapist Dr. Robi Ludwig told Good Morning America that the effects of these types of challenges can be extremely damaging to the self-worth and confidence of young girls.
“When girls are in high school, they judge themselves by their peers,” Ludwig said. “They want to be considered beautiful. They want to be considered attractive. And if they’re not, it can influence their self-esteem and self-concept.”
Crodelle added, “From the guys’ point of view, they thought it was funny, but they don’t understand how it makes us feel.”
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