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Eisenhower Parents Alerted About Sexting Incident

Principal Stephen Raimo said images exchanged between several students were "sexual in nature and highly inappropriate."

UPDATE: for students to delete the images or face child porn charges.

Parents of Eisenhower Middle schoolers were greeted to an alarming email blast from Principal Stephen Raimo Tuesday morning about a that's now being investigated by the Wyckoff Police Department.

The letter from Raimo read in part, "Unfortunately, I need to inform you that it has come to our attention that some students at Eisenhower have recently sent or received inappropriate images of a sexual nature via cell phone. We are all deeply concerned about the impact this has on the children, and that is why we feel it is necessary to inform all parents/guardians to the extent possible that this has happened."

Raimo told Patch school officials became aware of the sexting on Monday. "It came to our attention in general way that some children were upset with one another. In our discussions it became clear some kids believed inappropriate messages were being sent.  Some said they had seen images that were upsetting," Raimo said. "We investigated and found out it was true that the images were being transmitted."

Raimo said approximately five children were involved in the image exchange between cell phones and that the images themselves were "sexual in nature and highly inappropriate."

The sexting incident, Raimo said, is the first the school has had since a similar incident in 2008. Raimo said he would be speaking to the 7th and 8th grade classes today to tell them directly to delete any inappropriate images they may have received immediately.

"Between four to five children that we're aware of were directly exposed to the situation, but kids being kids I’m sure many more probably know about this, so as principal it's my job to alert them if they're aware of this or if they’ve received it they are to delete it," Raimo said. "This is one of the challenges that parents and school officials face with technology when it's inappropriately used...that it can spread so quickly."

Wyckoff Police Chief Benjamin Fox said no criminal charges would be filed against students found to be in possession of those images yet, but that would change as of Thursday.  "Anyone with those images on their phones have until Thursday to get rid of them or they will be arrested and charged. We're talking child pornography charges," Fox said. "It's serious and you don't want to go there."

Fox added, "It's an unfortunate part of the tech age we live in...the immediate transfer of information. Kids in middle school and high school can do stupid things and this is a stupid thing to be doing."

Eisenhower PTO president Corrin Scher has a 7th grader enrolled at the school and said while concerned about the incident itself, she was pleased with the swift response from school officials.

"I think they're doing everything they can to help the kids through something that's unfortunate. I'd also encourage parents to use this as an opportunity to talk to kids about how their immediate behavior could have lasting effects," she said. "It's unfortunate that this is prevalent in society today and it's clear we need to talk to kids more now as they get older, not less."

Fox said he expects parents to be waiting by the door when their children return home. "My hope is parents throughout town, when their kids come home from school, they’ll say 'I want to see your cell phone. I want to see what pictures you have'. Hopefully this will be enough of a learning experience for kids to understand that they just can’t do this."

A Concerned Parent May 19, 2011 at 03:02 PM
My heart breaks for the 13-year-old who decided to pose for photographs that were "sexual in nature and highly inappropriate." That child's life is on a tragic trajectory.
George May 19, 2011 at 04:09 PM
There must be consequences: expulsion for instigators and school records for those who transmitted the pictures. Let this be a lesson for the others. Without punishing responsible this will happen again ... in 2014, 2017, etc.
wendy coffey May 19, 2011 at 04:35 PM
We need to ask ourselves why girls demean themselves to get attention from boys. This is a question for society as a whole. Girls are not feeling empowered. This is not healthy for either sex. What can we as adults do to help?
George May 19, 2011 at 08:33 PM
What can we do as adults to help? Hold them accountable where it hurts: school record and expulsion. And how about stopping giving that second chance left and right to *us*, adults?
Bastiat's Ghost May 21, 2011 at 05:48 AM
There is record spending for public schools, and record problems with public schools, and never does anyone make the connection that government-run programs are destined for decay and failure. You can't research the history of schooling in America without tripping over the fact that schools are purpose built to create mischief in young minds and divert them from productive pursuits. Do a search for "John Taylor Gatto" and you can read his book online addressing this subject in great detail. DON'T lecture me on how lovely the highway system is and how essential government paved roads are, either. I practically have to get my tires realigned every week after driving over all the potholes. You can't even dodge them all anymore. But why do I bother? It's not as if anyone knowing the truth about the uselessness of government schooling (or government anything, really) will make a difference either way. The encroaching national bankruptcy and subsequent dissolution of the Union will solve all of these problems soon enough.
Righteous_Indignation May 21, 2011 at 08:02 PM
My god people!! Take your head out of the sand!! I'm 52 years old. When I was 13 many of us children were having sex, knew all about sex and it's many variations and themes. Why is it people insist on pretending that children are so innocent an naive? They are not. Never have been. Children having sex has been going on as long as there have been children. Now... it is not demeaning to girls to be having sex... that is just femi_nazi talk. Boys and girls have sex, it's human and animal nature. Don't deny it, deal with it.
Tom Rich May 24, 2011 at 10:34 PM
Unfortunately this type of behavior has become all to common amongst our youth. That is why, as a certified Police Officer, I decided 3 years ago to address this issue. Please anyone interested in bringing "solutions" to your school or community, check out my website www.alwaysconnected.org. or you can email me at trich@alwaysconnected.org for information. I was recently featured on Good Morning America dealing with this exact issue of "Sexting". Our children need solutions to this problem and it starts with providing them with real life examples, explaining the consequences and promoting an open dialougue. Having done 100's of presentation over the last three years (as a police officer who investigates this EVERYDAY) it has given me a first hand look at what our children deal with on a daily basis. Book Always Connected today and make a difference in your community!

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