Feb 6, 2010 8:33 AM by James Jarman
This week's suspensions of 7 middle schoolers in Falcon School District 49 is shining a sad light on the problem called "sexting."
The Skyview students, as young as 12, are accused of forwarding a picture of a naked young girl on their cell phones.
4th Judicial District District Attorney Dan May says there are no laws specifically written for the problem of teens and sexting, but he could charge the kids with a law written years ago for pedophiles. "The penalties are actually up to 32 years in prison and a lifetime of registering as a sex offender," May told News First 5, "nobody ever saw sexting coming down the pike. I think those laws are just too heavy handed for the sexting type situation."
So his office will take the sexting problems on a case by case basis. In the Skyview case that means trying to educate the kids and have them work with the school district and groups like Safe2Tell. It's a state office where they try to help kids before crimes are committed.
"What we hope is the young person has a trusted adult in their life that they can report it toor they can report it anonymously through Safe2Tell," Executive Director Susan Payne told News First 5, "and we can contain it, but if they're not going to report it they certainly shouldn't keep it, they should delete it and get rid of it."
In light of the latest case, educating kids and parents on the problem is on the front burner at District 49.
"I would first start off with monitoring their daily activity when it comes to the use of this technology, whether it be on the internet, or with their cell phones," said the D-49's Safety & Emergency Coordinator David Watson.
News First 5 has teamed up with Safe2Tell and many others to help with this and other problems kids face, including drug use.
There's a town hall called "Intention Prevention" on February 18th at Coronado High School. It's from 6:00pm - 7:30pm.
On Tuesday February 16th News First 5 will hold a special call in night with the experts. It's from 5:00pm - 7pm.