By Kelly Werthmann
LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – Bear Creek K-8 in Lakewood is the latest Colorado school to launch a sexting investigation after administrators learned last week of inappropriate pictures of students circulating among other students.
“As soon as we heard a rumor that this might be happening we started interrogating students, trying to get information,” Diana Wilson, Chief Communications Officer for Jefferson County Public Schools, told CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann. “Once it became clear that there was some kind of incident we immediately brought in the Lakewood Police Department to do an investigation. We are doing an internal investigation concurrently.”
The school’s principal, Victoria Kaye, sent a letter to parents over the weekend notifying them of the investigation which began when they learned of the alleged sexting on April 7.
“We take this behavior seriously,” the letter reads. “Ethical behavior, respect and safety are core values of our school. This type of behavior is a violation of our district Code of Conduct … and potentially a criminal act and will not be tolerated.”
The ongoing investigation has yet to determine how many students are involved, but school officials said it appears to include several eighth-graders.
“There’s going to be some consequences for some kids,” Wilson said.
Right now sexting is a felony in Colorado after a bill to make most cases a misdemeanor died in committee last week. District attorneys, like Stan Garnett of Boulder County who said he sees dozen of sexting cases every year, are pushing lawmakers to bring the bill back.
“It is very, very important that the law be able to differentiate between types of behavior and not treat everything the same,” Garnett told CBS4’s Shaun Boyd.
Bear Creek K-8 school officials will determine their disciplinary action once the investigation is completed.
“There’s been no charges as of yet. Everything is in the investigation mode,” Wilson said. “We’re just trying to find out what happened, who did what, what’s out there, what kind of effect this has on our kids. That’s really our biggest fear … that this affects a lot of kids.”
Jefferson County Public Schools is asking parents talk with their children about the dangers of sexting. Also, any parent or student who may have information about this recent incident is urged to contact the main office at (303) 982-8714, or Safe2Tell at (877) 542-7233.
Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team in 2012 as the morning reporter, covering national stories like the Aurora Theater Shooting and devastating Colorado wildfires. She now reports for CBS4 News at 10 and is always open to story ideas. Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter @KellyCBS4.