Amnesty Ends Thursday For Sexting Students In Wyckoff, N.J.

WYCKOFF, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A sexting incident at a New Jersey middle school has police warning students who may have inappropriate pictures of a 13-year-old girl.

The sexting scandal has rocked the Dwight D. Eisenhower Middle School in Wyckoff, and parents and residents can’t believe it, reports CBS 2’s Christine Sloan.

“It’s upsetting, because these people don’t realize what effect it has on their lives,” grandparent Fran Kandravy said. “Once it’s out there, it’s out there forever.”

Police said a 13-year-old girl took explicit pictures of herself and sent it to several boys, who in turn sent it to their friends. Before the girl knew it, the photos had gone viral.

WCBS 880’s Sean Adams: A Stern Warning From Wyckoff’s Police Chief

Police on Thursday gave the students an ultimatum – delete the pictures or face the consequences.

“If you have this after [Thursday] and we find out about it, we’ll investigate it and we will charge you,” Wyckoff Police Chief Benjamin Fox said.

Sexting has become an epidemic with teens across the nation.

A psychiatrist at Hackensack University Medical Center’s children’s hospital said communication is the key for parents.

“Help them understand the risk and damages to their reputation…socially…and the long-term effects and consequences,” Dr. Wilbert Yeung said.

1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reports: A One-Time Amnesty For Students

Dr. Yeung also said it’s important to tell your kids early on that you reserve the right to monitor their cell phone and computer use, because they’re often discovering themselves and trying to gain acceptance during their teen years.

“It’s more important to them to have friends and be popular, and this might be something a child might be doing to gain popularity and get in with a circle of friends, or impress someone at that moment in time – without realizing, in the long run, there are many more consequences,” Dr. Yeung said.

The middle school had a similar incident three years ago, and parents said they’re bombarded with anti-sexting information, so it’s made comprehending this latest incident more difficult.

“They talk about from sixth grade on, even in the grammar schools, not to get involved in this,” parent Janet Hoogerheyde said. “Kids are educated this way – still, they do.”

The school said they have counselors on hand, and police said they’ll have an officer visit the school next week to talk about the consequences of sending inappropriate material, as well as bullying.

Police said that because the picture has been sent to dozens of people, they were working with the school to make sure no one bullies any student involved in the incident.

When Eisenhower Middle School had that sexting incident three years ago, the police department successfully conducted an amnesty program, identical to the one that they implemented for this incident that ended Thursday morning.

Is the response from authorities in this case appropriate? Leave a comment below…

More from Christine Sloan
  • your mom

    i dissagree with this 100 percent. i am 14. i deserve to have privacy with my conversations. my parents dont need to know anything about what i say to people. kids do this all the time. everyone i know has done worse than this anyways.i know kids that are in 4th grade that have done much worse than this!!!!!!! you people need to chill. stop reading your childrens conversations and start cheaking where they have been. most parents just let there kids go where ever they want, whenever they want. bad choice!! so stop talking about this before my parents start checking and i get in trouble!!! they have no right if i pay for it!!

    • SALLY

      I TOTALY AGREE WITH YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • bill


    • cath

      if you are 14 you have no rights – only the ones your parents give you – when you are 18 you have the ‘right’ to privacy or to own things – until then- you need to simmer down, and go to school – and remember – if you have nothing to hide – you would hide nothing –

  • MMG

    Situations like this are happening across the country and all states are scrambling to edit laws pertaining to minors and sexting. In fact, there’s proposed legislation that would allow minors, who engage in sexting, to avoid prosecution under the State of New Jersey’s child pornography laws the first time they get caught. You can read more here:

  • Bob

    You shouldnt blame the technology. You dont need a smartphone to send and take pictures. There are no cellphones on the market today that dont come standard with a camera and multimedia messaging. Even if she did not have a cellphone she could have easily sendt the pictures by email

  • Bell Toller

    Why wasn’t the girl arrested

  • HK

    Why is this girl being made out to be a victim? If she is the one that took the images of herself started sending them she should be charged with child pornography as well.

    • cath

      she can be charged but she is also a minor and may not realize the magnitude of her own actions – she is still a victim now – children dont always see the long-term effects of their actions – there are many sad days ahead for this girl. Who knows the way this girl was being raised or what her ‘normal’ is – i am sad for all of them.

  • RichieT

    Kids with cell phones is one thing, this whole mini-computer phone saga.has gotten totally out of control. If what she had was a “PHONE” this never could have happened.

    • StormsNYC

      Yes, it can, it can as easily done as taking a picture with a digital camera, texting that pic to yourself via normal yahoo mail (you can send emails to cell phone numbers now) and then texting it to someone else.

      A poor carpenter blames his tools, and in this case you are blaming the tool instead of the user(s). A dialogue is absolutely necessary, a dialogue about digital responsibility. Kids are taught that taking your clothes off in public is inappropriate and you don’t hear reports about 13 year olds stripping in class rooms, they should also be taught that this behavior is also inapprorpiate.

      • RichieT

        I own a Blackberry. My point, is that If the kids just had regular cell phones, this kind of thing wouldn’t have been possible. To many people are having kids that are taking absolutely no responsibility for them. I have a friend that’s a substitute teacher in NYC. Not going into the whole saga of what happened, A kid in 5th grade was taken to the principals office because of throwing a book across the room at another kid. The mother’s response when they finally got a hold of her? “which one was it this time”

    • Dr Don

      Thats right, blame the technology not the girl…

      • sandee

        I guess not all people adhere to “responsible for your own actions.” I graduated DDE school in 1982. People back then could have taken pictures of themselves and spread them around that way. Blaming technology is not the answer, finding out why this child did this is.

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