St. Francois County officials combat "sexting"

By Zakk Gammon - bio | email

BONNE TERRE, MO (KFVS) - North County Superintendent Dr. Yancy Poorman says his district is just like any other and does occasionally hear of cases where students send inappropriate messages over their cell phones.

"I don't think North County is unique to any of the problems kids are having at school," Poorman said.

The superintendent says because of the constant advances in technology, things are only going to get worse.

"What I think parents can do is make their kids aware and have their children understand there are extremely serious consequences to some of the things we're seeing now," said Poorman.

So, in a way to prepare teachers and other school leaders, Poorman brought in the school's legal team to show just how dangerous sexting can be.

"I think it's potential for huge problems for them," said Poorman.

Sgt. Randy Tate with the St. Francois County Sheriff's Office agrees.  He says teens involved with sexting could find themselves in pretty hot water.

"They could be put in the sex offender registry for life," said Tate.

So, what does one do if they find themselves receiving these messages they never wanted or intended to get?

"If they feel they need to take it to the authorities then they need to do so," Tate said. "But first and foremost, they need to go to their parents."

Poorman and Tate say the best thing for parents to do is use common sense.  Keep up with what your kids are doing and to whom they're talking.

"Once you've opened that can, there's no putting the lid back on," said Poorman.

The superintendent and sergeant say in most cases it's girls taking the naked photos of themselves. According to them, this usually gets out of hand after a fight because someone gets mad and sends those pictures to someone else.

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