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Probe of students' nude Instagram photos expands

Posted February 20, 2014

— An investigation of nude photos of high school students appearing on Instagram has spread beyond Wake County, authorities said Thursday.

The State Bureau of Investigation said cases have been reported in Durham and Pitt counties, although Pitt County Schools spokesman Brock Letchworth said he's unaware of any nude student photos and has heard only cases of photos being shared without permission.

The Durham County Sheriff's Office said a 17-year-old girl reported Wednesday that photos of her had shown up in social media accounts, and a 14-year-old girl told the school resource officer at her middle school on Thursday that nude photos of her were being shared online.

"I anticipate the number of reports of this nature we receive will increase as children and parents become more aware of this type of behavior on social media," Deputy Paul Sherwin said in an email to WRAL News. "The responsibility of children’s safety on the Internet ultimately falls on parents, who must take every step possible to ensure their kids are being safe online."

Sherwin said investigators are researching applicable laws in the case, "given that the likely ages of those involved are all under 18 and the photographs were most likely taken and distributed willingly to at least one other person."

Durham Public Schools spokeswoman Chrissy Pearson said the district's school resource officers plan to begin an educational campaign "to reiterate the seriousness and potentially life-changing consequences of unsafe behavior online."

The district also has put together a team of administrators to develop a strategy for addressing the impact of social media in students’ lives and to give students and staff tools to reduce the risk of inappropriate online behavior.

A mother in Wake Forest told police there last week that her daughter learned that nude photos of her were showing up on Instagram and Twitter. Wake Forest investigators have subpoenaed Facebook, which owns Instagram, for information on four accounts.

Wake County Public School System security personnel believe photos of nude boys and girls from Enloe High School, Athens Drive High School, Rolesville High School, Holly Spring High School, Heritage High School and Middle Creek High School were on the accounts, according to court documents.


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  • Pepe Silvia Feb 21, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Parents need to teach BOTH genders not to pose nude OR ask other teens to send them nude photos. Boys send inappropriate pictures too.

    Being in possession of a naked picture of an underage person, even if you are underage too, is possession of child pornography.

  • Bryan Ayers Feb 21, 2014
    user avatar

    Kids: Stop taking nude selfies & posting them on the Web...

  • Mods Hate Me Feb 21, 2014

    The reason this concerns schools is that the original instagram account actually had WCPSS in the name. When parents began to hear about it, they contacted the school system along with local authorities.

  • K Hope Capps Feb 21, 2014
    user avatar

    Conservativevoter and others, you did read where it said photos of girls AND BOYS have shown up, right? Or is it just the girls that are in the wrong here and "boys will be boys"?

  • xylem01 Feb 21, 2014

    LASTSON1981 - Now throw in the fact that you are all caught up in the swag and I'm cool stuff kids today are and you send it to your friends thats distributing another crime you just broke.

    And they pass it on, and they pass it on, and on, and on, and on, so everyone gets charged just because some harlot decided she wanted to be a floozie and send nudies of herself? Wow. Just Wow. I knew women could be destructive but this is truly shocking.

  • Anne Walker Feb 21, 2014
    user avatar

    Not to be too insulting, nothing has made the company of a fully adult man more interesting to me than teaching high school.

    While some pedophiles are drawn to working with kids in order to hunt down their victims, seeing the realities of the teenage years day after day is not going to make someone into a pedophile who isn't already one; trust me. Whether out of respect for their students or repulsion at the trivialities of teen relationships*, adults who work with teens really do not want to date them.

    (*Adult relationships have their trivialities, too, but they're different and less numerous.)

    Perhaps I'm being naive, but that's how it looks from here.

  • justabumer Feb 21, 2014

    I don't want pictures of me fully clothed spread around the internet.

  • Anne Walker Feb 21, 2014
    user avatar

    People who ask why this concerns schools may have forgotten how name-calling and what Salt-n-Pepa so correctly called "he said-she said cr*p" can escalate into fist fights, bullying, and other stuff that teachers and administrators eventually need to deal with.

    Glarg, many school resource officers ARE "regular police" or "regular" sheriff's deputies. They are assigned to a school as part of their work assignment, and these men and women are far more knowledgeable of which students attend that school than other law enforcement officers might be.

    I am more sensitive than most to the possibilities of impropriety, and there truly is none when LEOs are trying to figure out which web sites may include abusive images of students in their schools.

  • Don Dickerson Feb 21, 2014
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    ....and no such things were allowed to be brought to school when I went there less than 30 years ago. Maybe it's time to return to some "old-school" rules and once a child is at school, it's for learning. Period. There's no reason a kid in school needs an IPod, IPad, laptop, Notebook, digital camera/phone....I don't even know whatall anymore.....Pare it down to essential learning tools, ban the rest, and like when I was in school, confiscate the distracting stuff and call a parent to come pick it up! These things also cause inadequacy feelings in kids without all the swag, threat of theft which can also be seen as enticement, easily become the focus of a day rather than a pleasant diversion. If your kid needs THAT MUCH extra input, connectedness, distraction in a 7 hour school day.....YOU have a problem.

  • 45ACP Feb 21, 2014

    What do the schools have to do with this? Just because they are students? Why does everyone always want to blame the schools? How about PARENTS take some responsibility for their kids!