DESLOGE, Mo. - Hundreds of parents and their young teens in Desloge, Mo. are dealing with news of suspensions, nude photographs, sexting, serious consequences and poor choices.
According to North St. Francois County R-1 School District Superintendent Yancy Poorman, more than five middle school girls took nude cell phone pictures of themselves and sexted them to boys at their school. Some of the boys did nothing with the photos. But, others shared the pictures.
The students are all seventh and eighth graders between the ages of 13 and 14-years-old. As soon as school officials learned of the photos they asked the Desloge Police Department to investigate.
"Once a picture is sent via cell phone or whatever, you can't retract it and where it lands or winds up is anybody's guess," said Police Chief James "Jebo" Bullock.
On Friday, the school district sent out a letter to the school board and to parents informing them about the incident. Many like Jack Hand, whose daughter had nothing to do with the incident, are using this event to reinforce what he and his wife have already emphasized over the past few years.
"You don't expose your body to others and send pictures on the social media because it can become a permanent item that stays out there and it can follow you throughout your life. It could also be considered child pornography if the police looked at it in a certain way," said Hand.
Police don't think there was criminal intent but an investigation continues.
"It's unfortunate and I'm terribly concerned, but ultimately It might be the most important lesson learned this year….one involving morals, values, self-respect and consequences for the 530 seventh and eighth graders at North County Middle," said Poorman.
Poorman also said the school is ramping up curriculum it already teaches about social media risks and consequences. He's asking parents to reinforce the messages at home as well.