A public “sexting” scandal has shocked parents and administrators at Bloomington High School North.
Police found that more than 50 students had sent naked pictures of themselves to other students. The investigation began when one student came to the principal concerned about her reputation.
Bloomington Police Department spokesman Captain Joe Qualters has been involved in the investigations. He says many of the images have been sent using Facebook, Snap chat, texting, and Photo Vault.
“There were students that were being harassed; there were students that were being intimidated; some of those photos were being used as retaliatory efforts against those students,” Qualters says.
Qualters says the photos were being used to bully and embarrass students and events like these are occurring at high schools nationwide.
“First and foremost, what students need to understand is that once you send an image, you lose all control over the content,” he says.
Qualters says students sometimes send pictures to people they trust at the time, but in the future, there is no control as to where the photo may end up. That can land students in legal trouble.
“Basically what we’re talking about is what might be constituted as child pornography. Distributing and taking those photos, and further exchanging those, can in fact be a violation of not only state law, but federal law,” says Qualters.
Bloomington High School North Principal Jeff Henderson says he’s taking steps to remedy the problem by communicating with police as well as individual students and parents.
“I would say overwhelmingly, parents have been supportive of the school and have kind of responded in a positive way in regard to being thankful they now have the information and can choose to act on it, however they see fit as a parent,” Henderson says..
In the past week, a detective from the Bloomington Police Department has been interviewing students and going through cell phones to gather more information.
And before the incident became public knowledge, Henderson says he put together a video guide for parents and teens about technology and safety to avoid such a situation.