Boone Schools Superintendent, Brad Manard, says the discovery of several on-line storage accounts that included nude pictures and videos of female students is shows the continued problem of dealing with the issue. “Kids are curious, kids are learning and growing, and in this digital age it’s not unheard of to have this happen. Unfortunately, it happened in Boone and our kids are learning a hard lesson” Manard says.
The Boone County Attorney, Boone Police and Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation Cyber Crime Unit are conducting an investigation of the photos. One male juvenile is accused of trying to extort nude pictures and sex acts from a female student.
Manard says the issues of sexting and taking and using such pictures is not new to Boone. “This has been something that has been going on nationwide and throughout communities across the country. Kids have access to digital technology,” Manard says. “Much of this happened on individual’s cellphones and it happened 24-7, it wasn’t necessarily at school or in school. But at the same time, we’re the educational institution and we need to help kids understand the consequences of this.”
Manard says the next step is to continue working to educate the community about the issue. “We’re going to be developing some educational types of opportunities for parents and kids. Some evening types of programs that parents can come to and continue to involve our kids in some of the education that we’re doing and maybe expand that a little bit,” Manard says.
The superintendent says they will incorporate this information into programs they have already scheduled on bullying. Manard says they recently had an informational session with an expert on this very topic. “We had an F-B-I agent come in last January and talk with our teachers about this type of behavior. That same person is coming to the middle school to talk about bullying and respecting each other. And I’m sure somewhere she’ll incorporate that based on the age of the kids,” Manard says.
Investigators says there were 100 unique users identified who accessed the on-line sites containing the photos and videos.
(Reporting by Jim Turbes, KWBG, Boone)