PENNFIELD CHARTER TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Pennfield Schools is warning parents about sexually explicit videos and photos being passed between students in hopes to limit the scope of the damage.
The letter said that school administration found out about “two incidents involving the creation and distribution of inappropriate videos and pictures at the high school” that include nudity and students involved in sexual acts. The photos and videos were then shared among students in the school over social media and “other electronic means,” the letter said.
On Friday, the district clarified the acts happened off campus but the images have been distributed on campus.
“At the request of the District, the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Department (CSSD) has initiated an investigation into the on campus dissemination of a photo and video allegedly depicting conduct that occurred off campus. The District is in close contact with the CCSD and will cooperate fully with law enforcement. The District will continue to honor the need for confidentiality as mandated by state and federal law and will ensure that proper protocols under Board policy are followed. No further statements will be issued at this time.“Pennfield Schools
Because the students involved are minors, the photos and videos are considered child pornography. Citing the Michigan Penal Code, the letter states, “possession, distribution, and creation of child pornography is a felony and a federal crime and can carry a jail sentence of up to 20 years in prison.”
The district says that it is trying to inform parents so that they are aware of what is happening. It is asking parents of middle, high school or any students with access to social media to have a conversation with their children about the media. If their kids are in possession of the photos or videos, parents are advised to have their children permanently delete them. If the students have sent them to others, they need to reach out and let the recipients know the severity of their actions, the district recommended.
Pennfield Schools said it is working with local law enforcement, counselors, Child Protective Services and other community agencies.
The Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office sent out a release on Friday confirming they are investigating. Detectives learned that students were “taking nude images of themselves outside of the School and sharing those images with peers at Pennfield High School utilizing their personal electronic devices,” the release said.
Detectives say they have not found any evidence so far that students are in danger from any outside threats.
The sheriff’s office is asking anyone with information to call the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office Detectives at 269.781.0880.