A two-month long investigation uncovered dozens of anonymous image boards bearing the logos of Chicago-area and Illinois high schools, in which users request, even trade, nude photographs of what appear to be former students.
In many of the posts, anonymous users on Anon-IB requested images using a woman’s full name and graduating class. Some posts asked for generic “wins,” or nude photos, of former students of a high school.
The threads bearing the schools’ names were all active in soliciting or trading images at one point during our investigation. Those not considered active are archived on another part of the Anon-IB website.
NBC 5 Investigates asked all 67 schools for comment. Many declined, citing a lack of information. Most were thankful to be informed and asked that former students who were victimized to contact local law enforcement.
Addison Trail High School - Addison, IL
Alton High School - Alton, IL
Amos Alonzo Stagg High School - Palos Hills, IL
Antioch Community High School - Antioch, IL
"I have no knowledge of these alleged ‘image boards.’ I do not condone any sites that exploit people in any way. I would suggest those that are on the site contact the police.
I find this type of activity to be deplorable and would encourage them to stop immediately." - James McKay, Superintendent of CHSD 117
Barrington High School - Barrington, IL
“Thanks for bringing this to our attention. We would like to forward the links to the Barrington police and have you speak with them,” said Communications Director Morgan Delack over the phone. “I am very familiar with the site due to the military nude photo scandal but had not seen the High School postings. Thank you for digging deep on this one,” said Sargent Kevin Croke of the Barrington Police Department over the phone.
Belvidere North High School - Belvidere, IL
Bloomington High School - Bloomington, IL
Canton High School - Canton, IL
"Our school district has been and always will be dedicated to providing a safe and healthy environment for our students and staff. As we prepare our students for the 21st century, we emphasize appropriate digital citizenship and the responsible use of technology. Although we cannot comment on any specific situations regarding current or former students, we are well aware that the inappropriate sharing of images has become a problem for children and schools across the country. We will continue to educate our students on the risks and consequences of sharing digital images, and we encourage them to speak up if they have questions or problems. If anyone feels their images have been shared without their permission, we encourage them to contact their local law enforcement agencies.”
-Rolf Sivertsen, Superintendent of Canton Union School District 66
Carlinville High School - Carlinville, IL
"This is very sad and appalling that we are having this discussion. I feel terrible for anyone affected by this," said Principal Patrick Drew on the phone to NBC 5 Investigates. He encouraged victims to contact local law enforcement.
Carmel Catholic High School - Mundelein, IL
Cary-Grove High School - Cary, IL
Crystal Lake Central High School - Crystal Lake, IL
Crystal Lake South High School - Crystal Lake, IL
Curie Metropolitan High School - Chicago, IL
Downers Grove North High School - Downers Grove, IL
“I am sorry that I have nothing to add to your story; this is the first I have heard of this unfortunate activity.” – Janice Schwarze, Principal, Downers Grove North
Downers Grove South High School - Downers Grove, IL
"I wanted to reply and acknowledge receipt of your email. Unfortunately I cannot contribute to your story as I have no point of reference for your story subject." -- Edward Schwartz, Principal, Downers Grove South
Dundee-Crown High School - Carpentersville, IL
East Leyden High School - Franklin Park, IL
East Peoria Community High School - East Peoria, IL
Elk Grove High School - Elk Grove Village, IL
Eureka High School - Eureka, IL
Farmington Central School District - Farmington, IL
Fieldcrest High School - Minonk, IL
Geneva High School - Geneva, IL
Glenbrook South High School - Glenview, IL
Granite City High School - Granite City, IL
Grant Community High School - Fox Lake, IL
Grayslake North High School - Grayslake, IL
Highland High School - Highland, IL
Homewood-Flossmoor High School - Flossmoor, IL
Jacobs High School - Algonquin, IL
Joliet Catholic Academy - Joliet, IL
“Joliet Catholic Academy is not aware of any instances or the existence of any of the message boards or sharing of indecent photos of former students as described in your email. As a Catholic institution we are firm in our discipline about any negative behavior deemed detrimental to our school. We have not received nor are we aware of any complaints from our current or former students. Further, no family or parent has contacted JCA to advise of or complain of the conduct you referenced. We hope that if any alumni were affected by this type of behavior they would inform the proper authorities.”
- Jeffrey Budz, President/Principal of Joliet Catholic Academy
Joliet West High School - Joliet, IL
“Thank you for bringing this to our attention. I will be reaching out to law enforcement for further guidance,” said Superintendent Cheryl McCarthy of Joliet Township High School 204 over the phone.
Kaneland High School - Maple Park, IL
"On behalf of Kaneland District I would like to share we have checked with local authorities and heave learned they have received at least one complaint from a community member affected by the situation. They are currently investigating this complaint. Our School Resource Officer is in regular contact with our other local law enforcement, and she has confirmed there are no current students involved.
Any pictures, especially those of inappropriate content, that are posted publicly anywhere without a person's consent is something we would not condone. We are saddened by this activity, and if individuals approach us regarding this we will encourage them to contact local authorities and offer any support we can as a school."
-Jill Maras, Principal of Kaneland High School
Lake Forest High School - Lake Forest, IL
Lake Zurich High School - Lake Zurich, IL
"Like anyone, we condemn the posting of someone’s personal pictures without that person’s consent. As a school and District we strive to educate our students and families about the hazards of sharing pictures and information electronically and the lasting impact of one’s digital footprint. Whenever we are made aware of student misconduct in relation to a school activity or on school grounds, we investigate and take appropriate action. When that conduct could be potentially criminal, we do refer that to our local police department."
-Kent Nightlinger, Principal of Lake Zurich High School
Lakes Community High School - Lake Villa, IL
Lincoln Way Central - New Lenox, IL
Lincoln Way North - Frankfort, IL (school closed in 2016)
Lincoln Way West - New Lenox, IL
Loyola Academy - Wilmette, IL
Lyons Township High School - La Grange, IL
Maine South High School - Park Ridge, IL
Maine West High School - Des Plaines, IL
Mendota Township High School - Mendota, IL
Morris High School - Morris, IL
Mundelein High School - Mundelein, IL
"We have received your request for information but we have no knowledge concerning the issue you are raising. We are concerned, however, that Mundelein High School’s name has been mentioned in connection with your request. Because of that, we have forwarded your email to the Mundelein Police Department and you can expect to hear from them concerning this subject." - Dr. Kevin Myers, Superintendent, Mundelein High School
"Our agency was contacted by the Mundelein High School regarding your inquiry of the trading of photos involving Mundelein High School. At this time, our agency has not received any complaints or calls regarding this activity." -- Rick Wilfenger, Investigator, Mundelein Police Department
New Trier High School - Winnetka, IL
Plainfield South High School - Plainfield, IL
Prairie Ridge High School - Crystal Lake, IL
Prospect High School - Mt. Prospect, IL
Rolling Meadows High School - Rolling Meadows, IL
Rowva High School - Oneida, IL
We are aware that there are many sites and/or APPS that can prey on our young people. As a district we try to give our students the tools they need to stay clear of these types of activities. However as we all know, sometimes students still make poor choices, or worse these decisions are made without their knowledge.
As for any particular board or APP, we usually find out after the fact or after they have been using it for a short time. Take for instance the MySchool board that was all the rage. Our students were the ones that reported it to us (as they often do) and once we knew our students were taking part on it we took steps to try and stem inappropriate or illegal activities.
My personal reaction is that it is unfortunate that this type of behavior is currently seen as acceptable with the young people of today and that with luck these types of behavior will stop.
A message to former students is to:
1) Stop before you take any of these types of photos, since if it never gets taken there is nothing to worry about.
2). Never allow another person to take any of these pictures either. They may be your best friend today, but you never know when any type of action can end a relationship.
3). If you get any of these types of photos, delete them immediately and don't resend them under any circumstance.
4). Be aware of the legal ramifications, much less the social and emotional damage that these can cause.
-Joe Peters, Principal of Rowva High School
Sacred Heart-Griffin High School - Springfield, IL
Saint Charles East - St. Charles, IL
Saint Charles North - St. Charles, IL
Sangamon Valley High School - Niantic, IL
Schaumburg High School - Schaumburg, IL
Serena High School - Serena, IL
South Elgin High School - South Elgin, IL
Triad High School - Troy, IL
Wauconda High School - Wauconda, IL
Wheaton Warrenville South - Wheaton, IL
Whitney Young High School - Chicago, IL
William Howard-Taft High School - Chicago, IL
Woodland High School - Streator, IL
York High School - Elmhurst, IL
"Elmhurst Community Unit School District 205 was not aware of the image boards, is appalled that they exist and has no control over them. The District has no indication that current students are involved and regularly educates our students about the dangers of sharing information which could be publicly distributed on the internet. We have referred the matter to law enforcement officials for assessment and encourage the victims to do the same."
-Melea Smith, Communications Director of Elmhurst School District 205
Yorkville High School - Yorkville, IL