Southgate teens suspended for sexting

Posted at 6:32 PM, Mar 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-17 18:32:19-04

Two teens have been suspended from a local high school due to a case of sexting.

It came to light a week ago after a father came to Southgate Anderson High School saying he caught his teenage daughter sending a topless photo of herself to a boy.

They met with the school principal and it was later revealed the girl had been sending several sexual selfies to her boyfriend.

Police were called to school, but the matter was handled internally. The students were suspended for three days.

According to attorney Shannon Smith who specializes in these cases, the students were lucky.

“When there are accusations of sexting back and forth, the juvenile could facing a 4 year felony, a 7 year felony, or even a 20 year felony for being the one who took the picture," she says. "So to not be charged is substantial and to the juvenile’s benefit.”

Smith says it is important to contact an attorney if your child has been sexting or accused of it committing the crime.

“What we are finding is that it is an epidemic,” said Smith. “It’s happening in every school. I am dealing with sexting cases every single week. I am dealing with sexting clients every single week and it’s really something that has become so widespread.”

The Southgate Community School District recognizes this problem as well.

They released this statement:

This seems to be a behavior that is occurring more and more at schools in Michigan as well as around the country.  We are concerned with the behavior, and in fact one of the administrators at Southgate Anderson High School has been in touch with a gentleman from the United States Attorney’s office in Detroit. He has offered to work with the high school to develop a program to educate students. The office already has a program for students on the middle school level.

“Even though the prosecutors' office and even though the Attorney General have been working in the schools to put on presentations and show the kids that this is not okay, the kids are doing it and I continue to represent many kids who are accused of doing these things,” says Smith.

What kids do not seem to be understanding: That even with newer social media apps that promise to make pics vanish, experts say they never really go away.

“Well, they believe that the picture is getting deleted from the phone, but the forensic technology that law enforcement is using to investigate these cases is able to recover deleted images and deleted screenshots and things like that,” said Smith. “So it’s never truly deleted.”