SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – In the wake of the Canon City High School sexting situation currently under investigation, other Colorado high schools are beefing up their cyber safety programs aimed at students and their parents.
At Summit High School a group of parents, students and community members, along with law enforcement, gathered last Thursday night to discuss cyber security and the growing concerns about sexting.
Based on national averages, approximately 222 of Summit High School students, or 35 percent of students at Summit High School will receive an inappropriate or explicit photo that could very easily land in the wrong hands, according to information handed out to parents and found online at the district’s website.
Sexting is something Summit Middle School Principal Joel Rivera didn’t think he would ever have to be talking about with fifth-graders.
“We’ve got to keep learning, we’ve got to keep in front of it and keep giving our kids the tools so that they can use it safely,” Rivera said.
With most students using their phones on social media, the concerns with sexting are only getting more serious after CBS4 reported students at Canon City High used “ghost” apps to share pictures.
“It obviously brings a concern when you see what happened in Canon City, but at the same time it gives us an opportunity to refocus on, ‘How do we have kids make the right decisions?'” Rivera said.
Even before the Canon City incident, Rivera says his school district had already started taking steps to work with parents on the dangers.
“We really feel strongly in partnering with parents and helping them navigate through the technology that’s out these days,” he said.
It’s not just for their student’s safety, but district staff says sexting can get students in legal trouble as well.
“It’s education about the legal aspects and what the legal ramifications are for them to be having, possessing, passing around these images, should they come across them,” Summit County Schools Emergency Response Coordinator Travis Avery said.
The Summit Middle School resource officer is hosting another meeting later this week to talk about the dangers of sexting and give parents resources to help monitor their students.
The school is also pushing the Safe2Tell Colorado app to students. It allows them to give the school tips anonymously. It was one of those tips that lead to school leaders in Canon City to uncover that sexting ring there.