Staff at West Ashley High School contacted police following several complaints from students and parents regarding multiple social media pages depicting “inappropriate pictures and posts” about current and former students.

On Jan. 4, the mother of a female student called the school to bring the Instagram pages to the attention of the school’s head guidance counselor. The following day several other students approached personnel with West Ashley High School’s guidance department to complain about the social media posts.

“On the page were several posts of students along with inflammatory statements made about them, as well as pictures of unknown females with their buttocks exposed,” read an incident report filed with the Charleston Police Department.

The incident report states that the online activity was then placed under investigation by Detective Doug Galluccio, task force officer with Homeland Security Investigations and full-time investigator for the city’s Cyber Crimes Division. When asked about the current state of the case earlier this week, Galluccio could provide no additional information.

With the incident at West Ashley High School highlighting the harmful potential of some social media platforms, at least one state lawmaker is looking to combat online harassment. South Carolina Rep. Cezar McKnight recently filed two pieces of legislation aimed at combating online harassment.

One bill would make it a misdemeanor offense to maliciously publish photographs or similar images on a website with the intention of harming a person’s character or reputation. Those convicted of the crime would face a fine up to $1,000 and the possibility of up to one year in prison. The other bill filed by McKnight would make those found guilty of posting photographs with the intent to harm a person’s character liable in a civil action for damages arising from any malicious publications.

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