Back in May, a teacher at Wiregrass Ranch High School confiscated an iPhone from a 15-year-old female student who she suspected was using the device to cheat on a test.
When school administrators searched the phone for evidence of crib notes, they stumbled onto a photo of a 15-year-old boy and a 14-year-old girl performing a sex act.
Now, the student who owned the phone has been arrested and charged with possession of child pornography.
The girl had sent the photo to another student who posted it on Twitter, according to police. That student is also expected to be arrested.
Wiregrass Ranch Principal Robyn White recorded an audio message that was sent via phone to parents of students at the school:
"This is a very serious offense and could have negative consequences for the rest of this student's life," White said, reading from a script. "I want to urge parents to monitor their students' phone and Internet activity to protect them from similar charges. I also want to remind students that it's not worth it to take images of body parts or activities that could result in criminal charges."
School officials are also asking parents to monitor their kids' phones and internet activity and to be mindful of their passwords.
The concern here is that images like these could end up on the internet, branding these kids forever.
In February, news broke of a website that posted sexually explicit photos of teenaged girls from Cypress Bay High School. The photos were allegedly taken from one of the students' phones.
We're not sure what the laws are concerning school administrators looking through a students' private phone without their consent (the report doesn't say whether they asked her permission or not), and we're not sure how things will go down with the judge.
A teen being arrested for being a teen is a pretty crappy situation. Sure, they need to be monitored, and 14-year-olds need to not be having any kind of sex, let alone documenting it on phones.
But these are people with raging hormones who aren't in their right minds.
Hopefully, the judgment won't be too harsh. Being branded on the internet is punishment enough.
Still, Florida law is pretty harsh when it comes to cases like this one, and Pasco County cyber crime detective William Lindsey is pretty serious about it:
"Any time you take a photograph or a video of children, anyone under the age of 18, engaged in sexual conduct, it's considered production of child pornography," Lindsey said. "It's illegal to take the photograph or the video. It's illegal to possess it, and it's illegal to transmit it. Those are all separate Florida statutes."
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