Avon schools promise discipline for students involved in cell phone flap
Avon Police are going through students' phones picture by picture, after discovering naked photos of female students on smartphones of students at Avon High School.
"20 years ago, when I was in school, boys were talking and girls were embarrassed in school," said Avon parent Misty Cummings, whose daughter goes to Avon High School.
Cummings knows being a teenager isn't what it used to be.
"Now, they're just showing each other pictures," she added of the situation that's turned into a criminal investigation at her daughter's high school.
Those pictures Cummings was talking about have some Avon students in hot water. Some of those pictures, according to police, are of female students naked.
Cummings said her daughter wasn't one of them, but she was questioned about what she knew.
"She was telling them that she was uncomfortable talking about it and that she wasn't going to," explained Cummings.
Instead, the data on the confiscated cell phones, now in the hands of Avon Police, will do all the talking.
Avon police detective Brian Nugent said they've already returned a few of the 16 or so phones the school gave them.
"It's just going to take a lot of time to go through them," said Nugent.
Depending on what's found, students could face charges of having and sharing child pornography.
"Sometimes we're desensitized to that fact because it's on a cell phone or because its someone that I know or its someone that sent it intentionally, there's a misconception there that it's okay, that's its legal, that its acceptable," said Nugent.
According to the law, though, it's not.
Misty Cummings understands that, but said what's happened shouldn't haunt these kids for the rest of their lives.
"They're acting the same as kids did 20 years ago and 50 years ago. We just armed 'em with a weapon and it's their phone," said Cummings.
The Avon Community School Corporation issued the following statement:
"We are working closely with Avon Police Department to identify which students are involved and the extent of the distribution. In conjunction with Avon Police, prosecutors and our legal counsel, we are cooperating and taking this issue extremely seriously. We are continuing to determine appropriate disciplinary action.
At this point, our most important message to parents, families and students at Avon Community Schools is this-inappropriate behavior at any level will not be tolerated by the District. Schools will be reminding students about the appropriate use of technology and the ethical and legal consequences and ramifications of inappropriate use.
The message to our student body is unequivocal: if we find out you have participated in inappropriate and illegal behavior at any level, it will be dealt with swiftly and appropriately. We will, as always, engage and cooperate with our local law enforcement authorities, including the prosecutor.
At the end of the day, this is not an issue limited to our responsibility. It is the responsibility of parents and students to know what is right and what is wrong in the use of technology. We encourage parents to talk to their children about the appropriate and inappropriate use of technology.
This is a potentially criminal matter, and inquiries about specifics regarding the number of students involved and the degree of involvement should be directed to Avon law enforcement authorities, with whom we are working closely."