Police investigate `sexting` at Barrington middle school - FOX 32 News Chicago

Police investigate `sexting` at Barrington middle school

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BARRINGTON, Ill. (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

Police continue to investigate students "sexting" images to one another at a middle school in northwest suburban Barrington.

A "small group" of students were involved in "sexting" inappropriate images among themselves" using smartphones, according to a statement from Barrington Middle School-Station Campus Principal Craig Winkelman.

On Tuesday, Winkelman told Pioneer Press the incident occurred outside of school and involved a student using a personal device. A 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."

On Friday, Barrington police said it is too early in the investigation to determine whether criminal charges will be pursued. Because of the ages of the individuals involved, the Children's Advocacy Center in Cook County is assisting in the investigation.

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

"Based on the seriousness of what occurred, the police have been conducting an investigation," Winkelman said.

Disciplinary action could be "severe," and criminal charges may result from the students' actions, he 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 stricter policies.

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

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