Marshall High School, located in Lyon County in southwestern Minnesota, alerted parents on Thursday that the Yik Yak app has “resurfaced in our community, and specifically at Marshall High School,” wrote Principal Brian Jones.
The app allows users to sign up with nothing more than a cellphone number, at which point users can anonymously send messages that go to everyone else with the app within a five mile distance. The app is only available on iPhone.“We urge you to watch your teen’s personal devices and online activity for violations of the district’s Cyber Bullying Policy and Internet Acceptable Use Policy,” Jones wrote. “To put it simply, anyone with the YIK YAK app on their phone living in, or around Marshall is receiving messages posted by anonymous users.”
Jones said the district has blocked the app from being used on school wi-fi, but students can still access Yik Yak through their own data plans. He warned that despite the app touting the ability to remain anonymous, law enforcement can get to the source of any ill-advised messages.
“This app allows people to go online and make bullying, intimidating, harassing, and threatening comments toward others under what the app advertises to be anonymous. It is important to note that, with the assistance of law enforcement, this app is NOT anonymous, and it can and will be traced to protect the safety of our students,” Jones warned.
Sign up: Subscribe to our BREAKING NEWS newsletters
The Yik Yak app description says being anonymous “makes it fun and easy to jump into conversations without societal labels.” The app was created in 2013 but went defunct in 2017 following countless reports of bullying, threats, body shaming and sexual harassment, according to The New York Times.
Schools around the country chose to ban the app, however it returned towards the end of 2021.
New owners have since said that anyone who misuses the app could face an immediate ban, stating that their goal is to create a “fun place free of bullying.”
Bring Me The News has reached out to Marshall High School to find out if it has received reports of inappropriate use of the app.