Stonington High School officials and town police are investigating incidents of sexting at the high school, according to an email the principal sent to parents and guardians on Thursday night.
"Sexting is sending, receiving, or forwarding sexually explicit messages, photographs or images, primarily between mobile phones," according to Principal According to that email,
Friese told NBC Connecticut that a student brought the situation, that involves a small number of students, to the school’s attention on Monday.
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Stonington police said they were also made aware of the situation on Monday and began their investigation.
"I think this was a wake-up call, definitely, because now anything you put out there, it can be used against you," Kate Reagan, a sophomore at Stonington High School, said.
Reagan and classmates, Maggie Spadaro and Molly Banks, are unnerved by the incidents.
"I didn’t see any of the photos but I’ve definitely heard a few names that I know, people that I know very well, some of my good friends are on it. But a lot of them also are fake,” Spadaro said.
Stonington Police Captain Todd Olson confirmed while some photos are real, others are photoshopped with student names put on "inappropriate content."
Most of it has been shared through Snapchat, Olson said. With the information he currently has, the students involved are underage. Police are looking into whether they need to press charges.
"So far, parents and students, everybody involved has been very cooperative," Olson said.
These teens said what’s happening is a reminder of the dangers of social media.
"They can so easily put your name on a picture and that could be on your record," Banks said.
Friese said the student’s emotional well-being is the school’s priority. He would not comment on any disciplinary measures.
“It did catch us off guard. But they’re kids and we will work with them to make sure they learn and make the right decisions in the future,” Friese said.
There has been teachings in the school on situations like this and there will continue to be more education on it, Friese said, adding that Stonington is not the only high school that’s encountered something of this nature.
Here is the full email from Principal Mark Friese:
Dear Parents and Guardians,
This email is to inform you that we are currently investigating recently discovered incidents of “sexting” at Stonington High School. Sexting is sending, receiving, or forwarding sexually explicit messages, photographs or images, primarily between mobile phones. This is an active investigation that we are conducting with the assistance of Stonington Police Department. At this time, the families of the small number of students involved have been contacted. As you can imagine, the sensitivity of this type of investigation is most important as we are dealing with adolescents. The safety and emotional well being of our students is our top priority. With that said, we as a community need to exercise discretion and not make this the topic of online discussion groups that could be more damaging to our kids. I encourage all parents and guardians to have a discussion with your children about the ramifications of these behaviors. We have in the past and will continue to have frank and open discussions with our students to protect them and to minimize this type of electronic activity. If you have any concern about your child, do not hesitate to contact their school counselor or administration.