Local News

Pause before you post: Wake middle school principal warns parents, kids after explicit photos found on social media

Posted February 19, 2019 4:56 p.m. EST
Updated February 20, 2019 8:46 a.m. EST

— It takes just seconds to post something on social media that you might regret. After recently discovering that students had shared partially nude photos on social media, officials with Wake County schools are reminding kids to pause before they post.

Pine Hallow Middle School Principal Andrew Livengood sent out a letter to parents warning them that students had shared "explicit images" of themselves on digital platforms. He is encouraging parents to explain to their kids that sharing nude photos is a crime and that once an image is out there, we can "never get it back."

School resource officers learned about the situation after a student reported she had shared a nude picture of her breasts with someone who then posted it online.

"Her picture did not only go to the intended receiver, but that receiver then shared it among other similar photographs," said Eric Curry, with the Wake County Sheriff's Office.

Livengood said he hopes his letter is "shining a light" on the problem.

"What in middle school, with a 12- or 13-year-old brain, may seem insignificant at this point, has long-lasting effects because the digital footprint doesn't disappear," said Crystal Reardon, director of school counseling.

Reardon says it’s up to parents to teach their kids what is not OK to post.

"If a student would not say something or do something in person in a conversation or a relationship, then they also know how to make those decisions not to say something or do something online," she said.

Investigators say explicit photos were also shared among students at Leesville Middle School.

Livengood's letter makes it clear that kids sharing photos of themselves "is a crime."

"We're just trying to find whoever is in possession of these photos to delete them. We're asking them to delete them so they cannot get into the hands of adults," Curry said.

Middle school counselors recommend that parents have the passwords to their child's phone and social media accounts.