LIBERTY, Mo. -- Eight Liberty High School boys have been suspended from school for pictures of Liberty High School girls that were reportedly found in their phones.
According to a district spokesperson, the suspensions range from two to 10 days for the eight boys who received the pictures. The pictures were passed around in text messages and posted on Twitter and on an Instagram page, Liberty.Girl.Pics. The pictures have now been removed. The 16 girls in the pictures were not suspended, but were verbally reprimanded.
FOX 4 asked the Liberty School District for a comment, and received this message:
"LPS is aware of the situation and appropriate discipline will be handed down, per school board policy. Such incidents provide good reminders for our students to use good judgment before posting anything on digital devices. Digital citizenship is taught in all schools and will remain a priority as technology use continues to increase in our society."
Authorities say this is a perfect example of how nude photos can go viral and get into the wrong hands.
"There are those pedophiles, sexual predators, online and they are just waiting for those pictures to appear and then they share them with other people and it becomes a very dangerous situation," said Missouri Highway Patrol Sergeant Collin Stosberg, who educates teens about the dangers of sharing inappropriate photos.
The parents FOX 4's Shannon O'Brien spoke to say it's a reminder to them to be even more watchful.
"What used to be the magazines and posters hidden under the mattress is now out there for everyone to see and definitely scary," said Stacey Hamby. "And the reason as a mother, specially of a teenage girl, I want to make sure I am able to protect her from all sorts of cyber threats."
"Girls need to have more respect for themselves and love themselves more," said Mindy Ramsey. "So that they don't have to feel that they have to do that."
In addition to the school district, Liberty Police are also investigating.
Scroll down for the letter sent to parents from the school district.
When people in the community first watched this story on FOX 4 and read it on FOX 4's Facebook page and fox4kc.com, they expressed irritation that only the boys were suspended. We want to know what you think. Please take our poll below so we can gauge the community's stance on how students who send and receive nude photos should be punished.
In dealing with a situation this week involving some of our students and improper use of personal technology, I thought it would be a good time to share with you a few reminders related to this topic.
While this week’s situation did not include improper use of a district-provided device, it reminds us to continue to keep digital citizenship at the forefront. A reminder of the importance of being cautious when posting images to digital devices of any kind is critical. Please continue to remind your student to use good judgment when participating in all digital realms. Digital information they create can reappear years later. It is important to remind students that this kind of information can impact their lives in the future.
While we include digital citizenship instruction, your partnership and reinforcement of this message is critical. The website Commonsensemedia.org is also a great resource to use with regard to this topic.
Thank you for your continued partnership and, as always, never hesitate to contact me with any questions you might have.