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Gay Slur Sparks Action in Area High Schools

After a gay slur appeared on a Twitter account said to belong to a student at Ridgefield High School, students from Easton, Weston, Wilton and across the country have banded together in an effort to stop cyber-bullying.

“I heard about it on Tuesday and my jaw dropped. How could someone do that?”  Weston High School student Katie said in front of Weston’s Lunch Box.

Katie, who did not want her last name printed, was referring to Twitter account #RHSfagoftheday, where an anonymous user reportedly planned each day to name a Ridgefield High School student he or she felt was a “fag,” according to Ridgefield High senior Sophie Needleman.

The Twitter account has since been deleted.

Needleman heard about the Twitter page after an outraged friend sent her the link. “I was upset and very shocked,” the 18-year-old said. “As soon as I saw it, it just hit a very deep place with me.”

Angered, Needleman ran to her Facebook page and wrote about what she saw. “I appealed to my friends and the Facebook community to say that they would not tolerate this.”

That moment of anger quickly turned into a Facebook campaign, “ Students Against Internet Discrimination: An End to Cyber Bullying ,” which has gained over 1,000 members in less than five days.

Ridgefield High alum Kiera Bloch, a SAID co-founder, wrote that the actions of the Twitter user were “absolutely uncalled for and cannot and will not be tolerated. After a year of an absurd amount of gay teen suicides hitting the headlines, it’s hard to believe anyone would create something like this.”

To date, the identity of the Twitter user is still unknown.

Originally the Facebook site was aimed at Needleman’s classmates in Ridgefield, but it quickly garnered support from users across the U.S. Needleman said she has received emails and Facebook comments from parents and students alike commending her on the campaign. There is also a SAID petition, which had over 1,200 signitures on Thursday night. Signers have vowed to speak out against Internet bullying.

Katie, who also has signed the petition, said she knows “a lot” of kids from Weston High School who have done the same. “I think everyone wants to get involved,” she said.

Students at Joel Barlow High School have also gotten on board, and Head of Schools, John McMorran couldn’t be prouder. “What we are seeing here is a digital movement and the issue of this generation,” he said.

“Honestly, it doesn’t surprise me at all, and I am glad to see that Barlow kids are doing this.”

“We are very happy to support this,” he said.

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