ST. FRANCOIS COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - Middle school students could face juvenile charges after a "sexting" incident at North County Middle School in Desloge, Missouri.
Students are accused of spreading around nude photos of girls who attend the school through text messages.
Police say the children could face serious charges. School officials say about 12 students were involved in spreading the photos.
"Five to six young ladies texted nude pictures of themselves to some of the boys in the building," said North St. Francois County School District Superintendent Dr. Yancy Poorman. "Those boys decided to, in some instances, share it with other members of their contact lists."
Dr. Poorman said the children involved are 13 and 14 years old.
"In the world we live in today, they have access to technologies that are probably far beyond their levels of maturity," Dr. Poorman said.
Poorman said school officials notified local law enforcement.
Desloge Police Chief James Bullock said it's a crime children probably do not know they are committing.
"They don't think about it at all," Chief Bullock said.
Under Missouri Law, minors who participate in "sexting" could be sentenced to one year in jail for the first offense and four years for the second. The law states that the minor will not have to register as a sex offender if convicted.
As for the case in North County Middle School, Chief Bullock said charges are still unknown.
"[That] determination will be made by the juvenile authorities after all the information is submitted to them," Chief Bullock said.
Kenneth Umfleet said his children are grown up now, but as a parent he said he feels for the children who made these unfortunate choices.
"I'm sure somebody got their feelings hurt," Umfleet said. "[They] probably got a bad reputation for it."
Dr. Poorman said the issue is bigger than just a few wrong choices.
"It concerns me greatly that young people don't have any more self respect or self value than that," Dr. Poorman said.
The school sent home letters to parents, reminding them to monitor their child's cell phone.
"We wanted to get the word out to our parents that these things are going on and obviously the best form of instruction is being mom or dad," Dr. Poorman said.
Dr. Poorman said the school is now moving on from the incident and getting on with trying to instill lessons that he says are greater than what shows on a report card.
"The things we try to teach aren't [only] math or reading, which is what we are tested on but not necessarily what we are about. We are trying to raise and teach people the right way to do things and that gets difficult," Dr. Poorman said.
Chief Bullock said the investigation is still ongoing.