Updated - Thursday Is Amnesty Deadline For Deletion of Eisenhower School Sexting Images

Argument involving girlfriends of the boys that received the image alerted school authorities.

On Thursday new details started to emerge as to how Eisenhower Middle School officials became aware that were circulating through the school, just as a temporary amnesty period for possession of the nude pictures came to an end.

Anyone now caught in possession of those pictures will face child pornography charges, Wyckoff Police Chief Benjamin Fox told Patch on Thursday."

Anyone caught with those images still on their phones will be arrested and charged. We're talking child pornography charges," Fox said. "It's serious and you don't want to go there."

On Thursday Fox told Patch that the issue first came to attention when the girlfriends of the boys that originally received the image confronted the 13-year-old student.

"Some girls learned that their boyfriends had the picture and then there was an argument between those girls and the girl that was involved," Fox said. "That was overheard by the staff and they investigated and ultimately learned what had taken place."

The Eisenhower Middle School sexting scandal first reported on Patch Tuesday went viral Wednesday evening as multiple television news networks descended on Wyckoff reporting on the 13-year-old Eisenhower Middle School student who took nude pictures of herself and then emailed them to two teen boys.

The images were circulated and may have been viewed by dozens of students, according to police.Fox offered a 48-hour amnesty period on Tuesday allowing anyone in possession of the images to immediately delete them without further repercussions. 

As far as how the police department will go about enforcing the ban of the image, Fox conceded they have some limitations.

"We say you can't have the images so the question is now what are we going to do about it. The answer is there's not a lot we can do at this juncture. It's illegal for us to start conducting searches of phones. There's no lawful way for us to go about that," Fox said. "But...law enforcement learns things. People tell us things. And if we learn those images are still out being kept or distributed we will press charges. But we're not searching phones. We can't."

Eisenhower principal Stephen Raimo said Eisenhower had a similar sexting incident in 2008.  The police department also offered an amnesty pact in that case and there were no arrests.

The Wyckoff Resident May 19, 2011 at 06:08 PM
Wyckoff is again embarrassed and deeply troubled by the recent sexting events at Eisenhower. Bad things can, and do, happen in any town. This is the 2nd incident in the middle school within three years. New kids, same crime. We can’t control all the bad things people do but we can try to prevent them from happening again. When this occurred three years ago, what steps did the school take to “learn” from the moment? I recall the reaction was initially strong and swift. Was there any follow up? Did the kids learn that it is a serious crime to promote child pornography? Did they know people go to jail for this? Do the parents know? This isn’t just fun and games on a cell phone. What did we do then, what did we do after, and what can we do better now. Wyckoff Police and the Federal law enforcement should address the kids and let them know this is serious. Think “Scared Straight” program for child porn. The individuals involved are the most important thing to address. Another issue is the impact on the whole town. Are we proud to say we are from Wyckoff still? We have kids that do all sorts of things in other towns, sports, performing arts, religious groups, etc. It reflects badly upon all of us. Are we doing all we can to stop this from happening again? Are the kids well informed of the moral, legal, and community issues as a result of this behavior. Are the mechanisms in place to correct the behavior?
R P MacMurphy May 20, 2011 at 02:18 AM
Hey. Kids will be kids. Whatever you do, don't blame it on the parents. Blame the school! Blame the teachers! Blame the government.
BettyP May 20, 2011 at 08:39 AM
I'm not a spring chicken anymore, and many will no doubt disagree with me, but children are not all that different from us old ducks. We tend to need more looking after, and are not always all that clued up on the complexities of modern day living. Life is simple-or should be and we are naive-the children because they still have so much to learn about human nature, and the older generation, because in our time, life was far simpler in some ways, but with less convenience in other, with less time on our hands for mischief, less peer pressure, and a whole different set of values. Any nudity amongst children, was person to person-the option of a 13 year old having the means to take a picture was not there, let alone sending it to anyone without a huge cost involved. But we don't live in those times anymore, and for life to progress, we must keep up with the times. Many children have 2 working parents, and the need for a phone is there. Is it not a viable option to keep up with the times without putting means into their hands that are way ahead of their level of maturity and responsibility? Would you give your car keys to a 13 year old because you are not there to drive them? No, you would organize a lift or send them on the bus. Give them the phone, but one that is age appropriate-they need to be able to make a call-that's it. Perhaps Tracfone's SVC should be marketed for children too-basic, easy to use, reliable and cheap. Let's get back to the basics of a what a child is!
The Wyckoff Resident May 20, 2011 at 02:09 PM
You can disable the ability to send an receive pictures on any phone. How many parents know about it and do it. If you want your childs phone as a communication device for safety only, you can make it one.
Mudcat K May 20, 2011 at 02:15 PM
It's a real shame that parents are not opening their eyes to this reality and getting through to the children on the moral, emotional and legal implications of this sort of thing. Boyfriends, girlfriends... in middle school?? 13-year-olds not knowing it's wrong to take naked pictures of themselves and then send to others. The permissiveness is hard to fathom. It probably says a lot about what parents are exposing their children too in terms of movies, music and the internet.
joe May 20, 2011 at 03:45 PM
This is what happens when you allow a Marshall's to move into your town. Imagine what will happen if they allow the Shop Rite!
David Roll May 20, 2011 at 06:30 PM
This issue with a link to the story identifying Wyckoff and Eisenhower school is now on the Drudge Report - Drudge gets 30 million hits a day.
Mary Calvano May 20, 2011 at 06:30 PM
Blame the schools? Blame the teachers? This is sexting, photo’s probably taken at the young girls’ house, or I hope, not bullying at the school. If you read the article it is the teachers that put the pieces together and took appropriate action. It is the parents responsibly to set the rules, guidelines and consequences of the phones use – they pay the bill. But let’s face it we have all been kids and have made choices at times to not follow our parent’s rules. (Did you forget the rules or even laws you broke as a kid? Big or small – we did it.) Even good parents with the best intentions have good children that make bad choices once and a while. Let’s take an opportunity from this bad situation to sit with our kids, or grand kids and discuss making choices about sexting, drugs, alcohol, bullying, lying, cheating, etc.. And let’s make a habit of doing it more often.
Alice Cole May 21, 2011 at 01:20 AM
There is most certainly many advantages to a cell phone and though it would probably be best if they were not allowed in schools that would be almost impossible. My thought is that a no-frills cell phone should be allowed but no camera or other enhancement should be considered. Cameras are becoming an infringement on privacy and a dangerous tool unsupervised.
Christopher McGown May 21, 2011 at 12:47 PM
Often times, we are parents don't know what we don't know. Our children are far more comfortable in the mobile world than we traditionally are. Unfortunately, so are the 'bad guys.' We need to put technology on our side. There are several products out there to help, but the only I like best is KidZafe. Learn more at www[dot]Kid411.info
Christopher McGown May 21, 2011 at 01:02 PM
Resident, I agree with many of your thoughtful points. However, the issue at hand is target is always moving. That is, the students educated today do NOT pass on this education. Parents are often ill- or mis-informed about the dangers that accompany the advantages of be connected. Add to that, the fact that is is human nature to believe 'my child would never do that'. Well, that might be true, but sometimes bad things happen TO a child. A community leader (person or group) needs to run with this passion. As a Certified Child & Internet Safety Advocate, I conduct free workshops for teens, and the adults who love them on internet and mobile safety. I have made it my mission that everyone in my community will be given an opportunity to get the facts and the tools to help. That means, that I conduct (nearly) the same workshop at the same school/club/church every year, or two, or three times a year...every year. Unfortunately, I don't live in your community, but if someone there wants to become an certified advocate to take on this passion of protection, I'd be happy to assist them. I can be reached at chris@kid411[dot]info.
Mary Rossi May 24, 2011 at 09:40 PM
As disturbing as this incident is, I am pleased that none of the students were expelled from school. In this age of zero tolerance we too often forget that these are children we are dealing with - they are going to make mistakes, especially in this age of techno-madness. What is more disturbing to me is how a private school in Wyckoff expelled an eigth grader for having a fight with another student. The boy had been in the school for ten years without incident and his family has been in the school for twenty years. What ever happened to "boys will be boys", common sense, and fairness? What really irks me is how the parents of the other eight graders in the class didn't rally round this family and at least demand to be heard. It could have been any one of their kids who was subjected to the whims of this principal who obviously doesn't understand adolescent male behavior. It's truly a shame and a disgrace that this devoted family was treated so unjustly. Mary Rossi
Mia DiPrizito May 25, 2011 at 05:03 PM
I appreciate and respect the comments made by concerned citizens this isnt just a problem in the home- its out in society- people are famous for making sex videos...We as parents and neighbors need to let the general public know what is going on and how it is not appropriate to post, email text inappropriate behavior whether its nude photos/harsh words/malicious comments. I am not asking the school or the police to fix this- we need to work as a team to educate our young people and believe me a lot of adults in our perfect Wyckoff world- stuff happens and it is happening here and now with our children- let's use this to be a teachable moment instead of judging and clucking our tongues. How can we pull a group together starting in the 5th grade to talk about these issues? Sincerely, Mia DiPrizito


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