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Police investigate ‘sexting’ at Barrington middle school

Updated: April 8, 2014 4:26PM

Police are investigating reports of students “sexting” images to one another at Barrington Middle School-Station Campus, school officials said.

A “small group” of students were involved in sending “inappropriate images among themselves” using smartphones, according to a letter Station Campus Principal Craig Winkelman emailed to parents Monday evening.

On Tuesday, Winkelman told the Barrington Courier-Review that the incident occurred outside of school and involved a student using a personal device. A school guidance counselor heard rumors circulating among students and brought it to the attention of school administrators, Winkelman said.

“We learned of the sexting that was taking place and spent the next couple of days investigating,” he said. “It became apparent that there may be some reality to the rumor.”

According to the letter to parents, all of the students believed to be involved have been identified and their families have been contacted.

“Based on the seriousness of what occurred, the police have been conducting an investigation since last week, too,” Winkelman said.

Disciplinary action could be “severe,” and criminal charges may result from the students’ actions, Winkelman said.

“The real tragedy is some students were victimized in this incident,” Winkelman wrote in the letter. “Protecting their privacy and their wellbeing are the school’s highest priorities. Those students who were most directly involved are receiving the appropriate care and counseling despite the pending consequences.”

Winkelman said smart phones are allowed at the middle school, but students are required to turn them off and keep them in their lockers during school hours. Once the school gets through the immediacy of the sexting situation, Winkelman said administrators will consider whether or not to implement stricter policies.

“This particular issue is one you have to stay after because technology is changing so rapidly,” he said.

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