Three high school students were arrested after an incident involving cyber bullying and a sexting scandal at a north suburban high school, police said.
The Gurnee Police Department said three freshman boys at Warren Township High School were arrested and may face charges of distributing child pornography after they allegedly texted an explicit photo of a freshman girl, which ultimately spread throughout the school's O’Plaine campus.
“It was about a two-week investigation,” said Cmdr. William Meyer with the Gurnee Police Department. “We talked to a lot of students, looked at a lot of phones.”
Parents were notified of the arrests in an email Thursday.
“The Gurnee Police Department has been investigating an incident in which a Warren student has been a victim of cyberbullying and sexting,” the email read. “Because this is a student matter, we cannot provide you with any specifics; but we want to remind all of our Warren students about the dangers of cyberbullying and sexting, and to urge any student who is ever involved, affected, or even aware of similar behavior to speak to any staff member that they trust.”
School officials said the investigation was handled exclusively by Gurnee Police and could not offer any information on the case because it is “an active investigation involving juveniles.”
Teachers, coaches and parents are now warning students at the school about the dangers of sexting and cyber bullying.
“I think it’s really bad and whoever gets it should go to the police,” said freshman student Ukrari Adams.
Police are also advising students to bring any evidence of sexting or cyber bullying to officials or an adult.
“Don’t forward it,” Meyer said. “Bring it to the police let them get involved in it because your possession and forwarding it is potentially a crime as well.”
If the boys are charged and convicted in the incident, authorities say they may need to register as sex offenders.
“It can affect you lifelong, it’ll follow you around,” Meyer said.