Male, Manual rivalry turns into social media cyberbullying

Published: Oct. 19, 2016 at 10:24 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 20, 2016 at 12:54 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A  centuries-old rivalry is facing a big problem - bullying on social media.
The duPont Manual and Male High School rivalry week builds excitement for the football game on Friday night.

This year, the rivalry has spilled over to social media, where students typically poke fun at each other's schools using the hashtag #roastmas.
Students said the tweets and posts went after specific people. One of those targets is duPont Manual senior and YPAS vocal major Ben Boutell.

"I tweeted a tweet with my senior pictures at Buffalo Wild Wings and they went kinda viral," Boutell said.

During this weeks rivalry, those posts turned into ammunition for a student at Male High School.

"He talked about how he couldn't hear me through my double chin or whatever," Boutell explained.

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Boutell has tough skin, but not everyone does.

"If that would have been someone else and it could have affected them, that could have ended very badly," Boutell said.
University of Louisville Assistant Professor Karen Freberg specializes in cyberbullying and checked out some of the #roastmas tweets.
"You do definitely see signs of cyberbullying, but the other thing is all of these accounts can be traced back to a student," Freberg said.

So, not only are they hurtful, they're public and could jeopardize the poster's future too.

"A lot of people feel because they're behind a screen, they're able to say things they wouldn't be comfortable saying in person," Freberg said.
But, on the other side of that screen is a real life person, and that's Ben's reminder as the rivalry continues throughout the rest of the week.

"Think before you post it," Ben advised. "Because you have to put yourself in someone else's shoes. You have to walk a mile in their shoes before you can understand what's going through their head."

The principals of both schools told WAVE 3 News they're on the same page. JCPS sent us a statement saying they're using the upcoming game as an opportunity to talk with students and educate them about maintaining a healthy and respectful rivalry.

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