Torrance Schools Worried About "Burnbook" App - NBC Southern California

Torrance Schools Worried About "Burnbook" App

After incidents of cyberbulling and threats of bomb scares, the school district is asking students to delete the app.

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    Anonymous Burnbook App Being Used for Cyberbullying, School District Says

    Torrance Unified School District is asking the developer of an anonymous social media app called Burnbook to exclude its students. Hetty Chang reports for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m .on March 20, 2015. (Published Friday, March 20, 2015)

    In the 2004 teen comedy "Mean Girls," students create a so-called "burn book" to spread rumors about other classmates and teachers.

    Students are getting that real life lesson in Torrance after several incidents of cyberbullying and online threats to commit shootings at two schools in town were all traced back to an app called Burnbook.

    "In the movie, it's not as mean, I don't think, as it is today," said Camille Moses, a senior at North High School.

    Other students agreed.

    "A lot of rumors are being spread and a lot of people are just bullying over it — and I think it's really mean," said Natalie Rojas, also a senior at North High School.

    The Torrance Unified School District is not only encouraging students to delete the app it sent a letter straight to the app developer, requesting it block all Torrance Unified schools from accessing the app.

    "We hope from these incidents that students and parents will be aware that there is an impact to what students put online and there can be consequences and repercussions," said Tammy Khan, a spokeswoman for the district.

    Some students said they voluntarily deleted the app after they discovered how cruel other students could be while using it.

    "I had the Burnbook app for a day or two," said Aaron Tebache, a freshman at North.

    He said he quickly deleted the app after finding negative comments about some of his close friends.

    "I used to get bullied, but a lot of it was just, like, regular bullying. It wasn't, like, cyberbullying and that's a lot worse because once you put something on the Internet, it never goes away," Tebache said.

    While Burnbook does not require a sign in or username, school officials and parents say this is a teachable moment that nothing is quite 100 percent anonymous online.

    "Kids who haven't learned responsibility yet, they can just take and abuse that too easily," said parent Kevin Leathers. "I think there needs to be some adult accountability involved."

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