LAKE ZURICH, Ill. – Illinois’ Zurich High School is investigating allegations of widespread sexting between students after a tip from a parent alerted officials to the problem last week.
Lake Zurich Police Chief Steven Husak told the Chicago Daily Herald that officials with the Lake Zurich Unit District 95 contacted his department and he assigned school resource officer Mark Frey to investigate the complaint.
“Thanks to a concerned parent, dedicated staff and partnership with our police, we have identified the problem, have brought it to the proper authorities and will continue our work with families to educate their kids and hold them accountable to an ethical standard of digital behavior,” district spokeswoman Jean Malek told the news site.
Neither Husak nor school officials would discuss details of the case, though Lake Zurich High School Principal Kent Nightlinger issued a notice to parents informing them that administrators plan to interview students before they contact parents.
“It appears that most of the related activity occurred off school grounds and after school hours,” Nightlinger wrote, adding that both Lake Zurich and Hawthorn Woods police are involved with the investigation. “Because sexting can constitute a criminal offense, the law enforcement agencies will continue to take the lead in investigating this matter. Interviews by school officials of students will focus on violations of district policy; after any such interview parents will be notified as soon as possible.”
According to WGN:
Off camera, one school parent told to WGN News there was concern that the student interviews were too heavy handed and not defined in written form as to what kind of questioning students could be subjected to and for how long and how often.
CBS Chicago reports the sexting involves a Google Doc passed around by students online that contained at least 700 photos that were “provocative” and contained nudity, according to one student.
“I think it’s terrible. You shouldn’t be just sending nude photos and sharing it in a Google Doc,” the student, who asked to remain anonymous, told the news site on Monday. “It was like provocative photos, nude, no clothes on. Their faces weren’t in it … but they were able to trace it back to some students.”
“I would say it was mostly girls, but there were some guys in there.”
The student who allegedly created the Google Doc was busted when he shared the link to the document with someone using a school email address, CBS Chicago reports.
Parents, of course, we’re outraged by the discovery.
“I think the parents and everyone else should get their kids together and say ‘look, this is what’s happening, we need know what’s happening so we can take appropriate measures,’” an unidentified father told CBS Chicago.
Parents also noted that the sexting investigation is only the latest controversy at the school.
In November, district officials launched an investigation into allegations of hazing on the varsity football team that involved sexual assaults between students and indifference from administrators and coaches.
Two coaches were forced to resign as a result of that investigation, and the school has since instituted prevention programs, improved locker room supervision and set up a tip line, WGN reports.