Instagram page showing photos of students in bathroom removed, but similar accounts remain

Other bathroom photo pages labeled as coming from Mandarin & Creekside high schools

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Days after News4JAX reported about an Instagram page labeled as coming from Darnell-Cookman School of the Medical Arts that included photos of students using the bathroom, the page’s content was removed from the social media platform.

A spokesperson for Duval County Public Schools said it had not been aware of the page until contacted by News4JAX and that staff immediately filed a report against the page, encouraging other parents to do the same.

“School leadership has been notified and we have reported this account to Instagram,” the DCPS spokesperson said. “It is critical that individuals immediately report concerning social media content to the appropriate platform directly so the issue can be addressed.”

News4JAX spoke with a parent who recognized her child, who’s a student at Darnell-Cookman, on the page that has since been removed.

“My first thought was, ‘My God, you know, he’s not, he’s not safe anywhere he goes,’” Dee Hammond said. “My mind was racing.”

Hammond knows more than most about the psychological and sociological damage that can be done through this type of intrusion. She works professionally with at-risk young people.

“We’re talking about youth who are already self-conscious about how they look and insecure about things,” Hammond said. “They’re in that stage of insecurity, essentially, and he didn’t find it funny.”

There are similar Instagram pages that are active and viewable to the public. The pages show photos of students and are labeled with the names of local schools, including Mandarin High School in Duval County and Creekside High School in St. Johns County.

While the photos don’t show anything objectively obscene, News4JAX chose to blur the images and scrub the page’s name from our coverage so as to not encourage extra page views.

When asked Wednesday about the other page claiming to come from a Duval County school, the DCPS spokesperson again said that the school’s leadership had been notified and that the page will be reported to Instagram.

“Our message to our school community remains the same. Whenever these types of inappropriate social media pages are found, it is vitally important that they are reported to the platform host immediately,” the DCPS spokesperson said. “While we have no control over these platforms, we will continue to report inappropriate content whenever we are made aware of it.”

A spokesperson for the St. Johns County School District said officials were also only made aware of the page when News4JAX inquired about it and immediately filed a report with Instagram over its content.

It’s unclear whether Instagram or its parent company, Meta, took down the Darnell-Cookman page or if the creator of the page removed it.

“These matters are taken very seriously and school restrooms are not a place for cameras,” the SJCSD spokesperson said.

While it’s unclear whether the pages constitute a “bullying/harrassment” violation, which is strictly banned by Instagram’s terms of service, using cameras or recording equipment in school bathrooms is certainly against the school district’s code of conduct.

St. Johns County School District Student Code of Conduct: Cell Phones and Wireless Communication Devices

“Students may possess cellular telephones and other wireless communication devices at school, on buses, and at school functions. However, they must be turned off, stored in a student’s backpack, purse, locker or vehicle. The device shall not be used during the school day without administrative approval or on school buses to and from school. Failure to comply may result in the device being confiscated. Repeated failure to comply will be considered defiance of school rules.

“Earbuds shall not be used during the school day without administrative approval. Upon administrative approval, use is limited between classes and during lunch only or as directed by the teacher as part of an instructional resource. As a safety precaution, only one earbud shall be utilized when not under the direct supervision of the teacher. Failure to comply may result in the item being confiscated.

“Any disruptive, harassing or other inappropriate use of a cell phone or wireless communications device in violation of this policy or school rules shall be cause for disciplinary action, including confiscation of the device as Contraband and, in the event of repeated or serious misuse, loss of the privilege to possess such a device on school property or while attending a school function. Inappropriate use includes, but is not limited to: (1) texting, phoning or web browsing during prohibited times; (2) taping conversations, music or other audio at any time; (3) taking photographs or video at any time except as permitted by the Acceptable Use Policy; (4) “sexting;” and (5) any activity that could in any manner infringe upon the rights of other individuals, including but not limited to students, teachers, and other staff members.

“When there is reasonable suspicion that a student has used a cell phone or wireless communication device in violation of the Code of Conduct or other school rules, or for an unlawful purpose, the school administration may search the phone’s call log, voice messages, text messages, photographs and any other applications in furtherance of its investigation of the suspected violation.”

Page 27 of St. Johns County School District Student Code of Conduct 2021-22

About the Author:

Joe covers education and breaking news. He is a frequent contributor to the News4Jax I-team and Trust Index coverage.