Parents, we cannot passively ignore students' online behaviors anymore
Some situations in the life of a school district require a balance between care and compassion, consequence and correction. This is not an easy equation and often relates to an unfortunate incident. Such is the case with a small group of adolescents who clearly did not respect or understand the repercussions of risky online behaviors when using their technology.
Today, in cooperation with the Barrington Police Department, two students at the Barrington Middle School-Station Campus were formally charged for sexting illicit photos and videos to or from classmates. The police department's statement of charges filed by the Cook County Juvenile State's Attorney's Office can be read at the link below.
These students and their parents find themselves in a severe situation. Their futures may be forever stamped by the careless use of an app, the tease of a text message, the unthinking post of an indecent photo.
In this case, the permanence of the Internet may be enough evidence to secure a Class 2 Felony conviction in the juvenile courts. The “delete” button can never fully erase the reach of social media.
Even before this serious development today, our health, counseling and library-media curricula all address the dangers of online misbehavior. In an upcoming program, Melissa Hemzacek of the Illinois Attorney General’s High-Tech Crime Bureau will speak to parents on Tuesday, May 20, at 6:30 p.m. in the Station Middle School commons. Hosted in conjunction with Arnett C. Lines Elementary, the evening event will be open to parents of students of all ages in Barrington 220.
The following morning, on Wednesday, May 21, at 9 a.m., LINK Barrington will host a parent coffee and panel discussion in the Guidance Resource Center at Barrington High School for a more in-depth conversation about the topic of Internet safety and sexting.
Both of these events are for all parents regardless of your child’s age or which school he or she attends. The gravity of sexting must be a community-wide concern because the issue is not just isolated to middle and high school students. As smartphones become more prevalent and popular with grade-school children, instances of inappropriate use are surfacing among younger ages to the point all parents should be mindful of the dangers.
Click here to read the police statement about formal charges filed against the two students.