Bennett’s Mill Middle schoolers who sent ‘undressed’ photos face juvenile court action

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An incident last week at a local school should serve as a reminder that minors who share indecent photos of each other can find themselves in big trouble.

An item on the Fayetteville Police Department’s daily log indicated that a Nov. 29 incident at Bennett’s Mill Middle School resulted in charges of computer child exploitation. A spokesman for the department confirmed the incident and pointed out that only students were involved.

“It has nothing to do with staff members or teachers. No adults were involved at all,” he said. “Just some juveniles being foolish.”

The situation was described as some female students being involved in a FaceTime conversation, where at some point one of the girls decided to get undressed for the cell phone camera. A picture of her in that condition was sent to other students via cell phones, which led to charges being levied by the school resource officer.

“It was all done on juvenile complaints and will be handled in juvenile court,” said the police spokesman.

Over the past couple of decades as technology has found itself in the hands of virtually every teenager, more attention has been given to making sure young people understand that sharing indecent photos of minors is indeed a crime that can rise to the level of child pornography, even when the perpetrator is also a minor.

School resource officers locally have been tasked with informing students about these risks, having built the information into the regular curriculum that they share with their students every year.

As the police spokesman put it, “They should have known better.”