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NJ High School Students Could Face Child Porn Charges For Sharing Nude Photos

Ridgewood Teens, Parents Given A Warning: Get Rid Of The Images, Or Else
Ridgewood High School (credit: Eileen Lehpamer/1010 WINS)

Ridgewood High School (credit: Eileen Lehpamer/1010 WINS)

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RIDGEWOOD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Child porn or child’s play?

A sexting scandal at a New Jersey high school has officials warning students that they could face criminal charges.

Ridgewood High School officials said nude photos may have been shared among several students, CBS 2′s Weijia Jiang reported.

Students said it all started when two teenage girls sent naked photographs of themselves to their boyfriends using a Snapchat app, thinking the images would be deleted within 10 seconds, 1010 WINS’ Eileen Lehpamer reported.

Instead, those pictures got passed around and posted on the social networking site Instagram.

“Everybody got it in 10 minutes,” one student said. “They show their faces right in the picture, so you know it’s them. It’s so dumb.”

“I’ve gotten them. One of my friends sent it to me,” one student, named Alexis, said.

Board of Education officials said the photos include “real or simulated sex acts,” including “naked” or “semi-naked” students — both male and female.

“They’re exploitative, I don’t think it’s a good thing going around school. A bad idea,” senior John McGinley said.

“I think people who sent out the pictures should be in trouble, but not the girls who took them,” Stephanie Weston told CBS 2′s Christine Sloan.

“Students don’t know what they’re getting into when it comes to that and they don’t know how much of a big deal that is,” one student told WCBS 880 reporter Alex Silverman.

Tech expert Sree Sreenivasan agreed, warning that anything you send electronically quickly escapes your control.

“Anything you put digitally on the Internet will be captured, will be shared, will come back to haunt you,” Srenivasan said. “As soon as you’ve taken that picture you have opened up the chance you will lose a job, not get into college, be shamed for the rest of your life.”

Police instituted an amnesty period for the Ridgewood students to delete the images by 7 a.m. Monday or possibly face charges of criminal possession of child pornography.

Some supported the decision.

“I think somebody’s gotta push the button on them,” one man said.

“Maybe it’s a message to the parents, too,” another man said. “Some of the parents aren’t any better than the kids.”

“They get a second chance, not a lot of people get that, so I think they’re fortunate,” one student said.

But others said it was just a case of teens being teens and added the possibility of charges was too extreme.

“We do talk about with our children and we hope they make the right decision. Some kids don’t think before they act,” parent Lori Muller told CBS 2′s Sloan.

“Nowadays, when you do something impulsively without thinking it can be around the world in a matter seconds,” parent Barbara Whelan added.

“My mom talks about it. She says make sure you put nothing bad on your Facebook … Employers will look at Facebook and Twitter,” 15-year-old Sam Gruchawka added.

Ridgewood School Superintendent Daniel Fishbein sent a letter to parents of middle and high school students warning, “…The possession and/or transmission of sexually revealing or explicit images, or any materials of that nature, constitute the very serious crimes of possession and transmission of child pornography.”

Fishbein is urging parents to check their children’s phones and electronic devices for the pictures and to delete them if found.

“Police are investigating the matter and [if students] possess photos on any or all electronic devices they need to get rid of them immediately,” Fishbein told CBS 2′s Sloan.

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