Several students at a northwest suburban middle school could face criminal charges after they were found texting racy photos on their cell phones.
Administrators at Barrington Middle School - Station Campus sent a letter home to parents asking them to explain the dangers of sexting and how it could affect their futures.
The five students involved in the sexting are all eighth graders between 13-14 years old, officials say. The sexting issue was uncovered through students who reported rumors to their parents and school counselors.
"It started as some information that was kind of rumor, then turned into reality as we started to investigate and speak with more children," school principal Dr. Craig Winkelman said.
Winkleman said the school, the students in question and their parents are all cooperating with the investigation.
"It was contained to just our students here at the middle school. That was one of the things police immediately started working on, making sure they were investigating the devices that were involved, checking to see what kind of content was on the devices, deleting the information from the devices as quickly as possible," Winkleman said.
The students used Snapchat and the Kik messenger app to share the photos.
"Snapchat's my biggest concern and that's probably why I won't let my child have that," a parent told NBC 5.
"My son doesn't have a phone and he doesn't need one. If there's an emergency, go to the office," another parent said.
Winkleman says this should serve as teachable moment, not just for the students, but for the parents as well.
"I would also have conversations with them about where they used that phone, how they use that phone, does the phone stay in a neutral location in the house at night when it's charged, versus in their bedroom," Winkleman said.
Winkleman said the students who were victimized in the incident and those involved with sending the photos are receiving appropriate care and counseling despite the pending consequences.