Police in Nashua, New Hampshire are investigating after they say several students at a prominent Catholic high school were caught exchanging nude photos.
The students involved could legally face child pornography charges, but NBC10 Boston learned Tuesday that police have decided to educate them instead of prosecuting them.
Just before school let out for the summer, a large group of 10 to 20 students at Bishop Guertin High School got busted for taking and sending nude photos of each other.
"I am not surprised one bit - it's high school," said Kailynd Biggar, a recent college graduate.
“It can ruin their life, it can keep them out of college,” said Patti Mahoney, a mother who lives near the school.
Nashua police Lt. Robert Page said the students didn’t realize what they were doing was actually a crime.
“When you take these photos, you’re technically manufacturing child pornography,” Page explained.
But instead of pressing charges, police are trying to teach the kids and their parents.
“The laws were designed to target and prosecute child predators, not juveniles who make bad decisions,” Page said.
Some people in the community support that idea.
“We’ve all made mistakes when we were younger,” said Kathy St. Pierre, another local mom. “You don’t need it on your permanent record.”
Others think a slap on the wrist simply isn’t enough.
“Once you do something, they’d probably do it again,” Mahoney said.
“Suspension, community service, or something other than education on why it’s wrong – they know it’s wrong,” said Jessalyn Erickson.
School leaders wouldn’t comment on whether the kids involved faced any consequences at school.
In a statement, a Bishop Guertin High School spokesperson said, “As a school, Bishop Guertin is committed to teaching our students responsible online decision-making as they face the same challenges as every adolescent around the country with respect to the consequences of their digital footprint.”