Several Pearland school district students face charges for sending lewd photos via cell phones in an illegal practice commonly known as “sexting,” Pearland police said.
Charges are pending against the students for distribution of harmful material to a minor, a Class A misdemeanor punishable by jail time of up to a year and a fine not to exceed $4,000. The students allegedly involved in the case are under 17 years old, police said.
Police Lt. Onesimo Lopez of the Pearland declined to reveal the number of students involved, or what school or schools they attend, saying that the case is still under investigation.
The incidents were reported to school authorities on May 27.
Police declined to say how many photos were exchanged by the students.
“Sharing photos among themselves, the students may have the intent that this is a private conversation,” Lopez said. “It is inevitable that it gets sent to other individuals, who will forward it to others.”
Lopez added, “They’re intimate photos that really have no business being sent out. Once it’s sent, there’s no getting it back. They really need to consider the things that they want out and ultimately distributed.”
Police said that one of the suspects in the case had fallen out with an ex-girlfriend, who earlier had sent him a ‘sexting’ photo of herself. The boy allegedly sent the photo to several other juvenile friends, and the photo was forwarded on from there.
Pearland school officials also declined to discuss the case.
“I cannot discuss the issue because, as you can see from the police report, it concerns a police investigation involving minors,” district spokeswoman Renea Ivy-Sims stated in an e-mail.
“What I can tell you is: Pearland ISD allows students to possess telecommunication devices; however the devices may not be turned on or visible during the instructional day,” she said. “If a student uses a telecommunication device or has a telecommunication device that is visible during the school day, it will be confiscated.”
The district’s policy is to confiscate any any device that contains obscenity or pornography and turn it over to police, she said.
For more information about the district’s cell-phone policy, visit here.
“I don’t think kids really understand when they’re doing it how serious this is,” Lopez said. “They’re not sending a photo just to a friend of theirs … someone they care about. Once that photo is sent, there is no getting it back.”