Local News

Students Accused of Sending Porn Via School-Issued Laptops

Posted November 5, 2007 6:28 p.m. EST
Updated November 5, 2007 9:57 p.m. EST

— The State Bureau of Investigation is looking into three Greene County Central High School students accused of creating and sending pornographic material with their school-issued computers.

In one case, a 16-year-old student reportedly sent video of himself with his 15-year-old girlfriend to a teacher by mistake.

"I'm extremely disappointed in these students," said Greene County Schools Superintendent Dr. Steve Mazingo. "I do not think the overwhelming majority of our students would engage in this type of activity."

For a minimal insurance fee, students in sixth through 12th grades in Greene County get a MacBook to take home. The school system leases the laptops with a combination of tax money and grants. Each of this year's computers has a built-in Web camera.

"So, there are probably more opportunities for them to record things and to do things with the computers that they haven't had before, unfortunately" Mazingo said. "It also greatly enhances the educational opportunities."

Authorities have not charged any students yet, but they could face felony charges and mandatory jail time for a first offense if they were convicted.

Mazingo would not say exactly how the students in this case are being punished at the school level, but said that in general, students who violate computer conduct policies can be banned from using any school computer, or at least lose all Internet access.

Mazingo said the school system does not plan to cancel the laptop program. Administrators, however, are working with the district attorney's office on a video to teach students about how serious charges can be for using the cameras inappropriately.

He said administrators would also continue to monitor closely all activity on every issued computer.

The district attorney's office said it would wait for an SBI report before deciding whether to charge the students.