Catholic High School Students Get Away with Possession of Child Porn

BG

Apparently a group of students at a private Catholic high school in New Hampshire sent naked photos of themselves to friends.

The photos then started making the rounds, to the point where Bishop Guertin High School officials had to involve the authorities.

From WMUR:

Several phones were confiscated by the school administration, and officers searched the phones after getting permission, police said.

“The detective found several photos in different states of undress on a couple of occasions that arose to the level of child pornography by statute,” [Nashua Lieutenant Robert] Page said.

Unbelievably, though, “police said they do not anticipate filing any charges”.

Uh … say what?

And THIS is one of the biggest problems in American society today, in my humble opinion.

Children are not taught to refrain from doing stupid things. Parents by and large try to be friends with their children because, let’s face it, parenting is not always fun. If children have no understanding that there are consequences for bad behavior, a tenet that should be put in place from a very young age,  they are going to enter adolescence and even early adulthood thinking they can do whatever they want.

My daughter Emily is 23. She thanked me fairly recently for being strict with her, for driving by places she told me she’d be so I’d know she was there, for not letting her go to certain places or hang out with certain people, for making her text when she was leaving somewhere and text when she got to her next location, and so on. She spent much of her high school years bemoaning how mean I was, how other moms were much cooler and treated them like friends and not prisoners, how she couldn’t wait until she didn’t have to put up with my stupid rules anymore.

Emily is now one of my best friends. Some of her old friends barely talk to their parents because they resent that they were never given limits, that they had no understanding of consequences until they were adults and the stakes were so  much higher.

For high school students to think that for some reason it is okay to send nude pics to each other and spread them around in some kind of weird digital orgy is appalling to me.

Did anyone ever go over the most basic of cell phone etiquette with these teens? Did anybody check their phones on a regular basis? (I check my 14-year-old daughter’s phone and social media accounts regularly … sorry, not sorry). While Bishop Guertin is “committed to teaching its students responsible online decision-making skills” as a result of this incident, I can’t help but wonder who dropped the ball on not ensuring this happened before they reached high school.

Perhaps even more disturbing is that excuses are made for the students’ behavior that reached the level of child porn, which were, according to Lt. Page, “The laws of child pornography were developed to target and prosecute child predators, not students and juveniles who make bad decisions.”

Police said they have spoken to all the students who were involved and their parents. They also wiped the photos off the phones.

Police said they’re trying to impress upon the students how there’s no way to take things back once you hit send.

“You don’t have any control over what they do with those pictures,” Page said. “They can end up on the internet, on people’s phones who you don’t want to have them, and, unfortunately, that kind of stuff can cause ridicule and can follow you for the rest of your life.”

You know, somehow I think that these kids got away with several actual crimes scot free. Furthermore, I don’t think they got the message police apparently intended.

Rather, I think they learned a lesson in being more careful.

I also can’t help but wondering if the police reaction would have been the same if these had been inner-city minority students from public schools, or if those kids, with less engagement from parents by and large and certainly without the backing of the Catholic Church, would have been actually charged with a crime.

After much reflection, I believe the answer is that the reaction would have been very different.

What do you think? Please feel free to share  your thoughts in the comments.

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