A growing problem in the tech age has been sexting, the sending of racy photos of one to another via text message. It's an epidemic that is really evident in our schools.
Here in Ohio we are no strangers to sexting. We have seen one local student commit suicide over a sexting scandal and now have another school involved in a huge scandal.
Police and officials at a Cincinnati-area high school say hundreds of students may have been involved in recent cases of "sexting."
There have two been recent investigations into cases at Madeira High School of students circulating photos of nude or sexually involved students on their cell phones.
In January, officers confiscated up to eight cell phones belonging to high school students that had videos on them made by a male student who the Madeira police chief says has since been expelled.
In a second investigation, an official estimated that "hundreds" of Madeira students and possibly others outside the school had received or circulated pictures of naked female students. That case has been dropped according to Chief Frank Maupin since the parents did not wish to press charges.
In the January case, the student has been charged with a four felony counts of pandering obscenities involving a minor. His attorney says he is not guilty.
In Ohio sexting is a felony, on par with distributing child pornography. I have never heard of the parents having a say in rather a child is prosecuted for a felony like this or not. The reasons the chief gives are also laughable:
Maupin says while the students involved may have been tech savvy, were lacking in legal know-how.
"I think the majority of them, they don't understand or realize the consequences criminally, let alone if that were to get out on the Internet," he said.
So now they are taught that their parents can just get them off at will. That's a great lesson for our children!
Now I really don't believe in the sexting laws, to a point. If a 14 year old girl wants to take a nude picture of herself and send it to someone, then it's a decision that girl has made and repercussions that she must live with. It's also an example of how we are trying to force parenting through the long arm of the law. If it's a crime for the children to do it, then perhaps the parents should also be guilty for failure as a parent.
But it is the law here in Ohio and I can't help but wonder if the decision to not prosecute is influenced by the location of this school.
Maderia is an upper-scale suburb located just northeast of Cincinnati. It's 92% white, with a median income of $75,500, which is $30,000 more than the state's median income. I can't help but wonder if the parents would be offered to make the decision on prosecution if these students were from Cincinnati Public Schools or another district that wasn't so white and rich?
Considering the charges they would face are a felony, perhaps the state Attorney General should come in and investigate if the decision to not charge was motivated by race, income or even connections. I don't believe these kids should go to jail, but I do believe the law should be enforced fairly and without bias. Here, it doesn't seem that is the case, and that should be something that bothers all of us.