Oct. 8, 2012 — Rowan County Senior High School officials suspended 16 students Friday after nude pictures were found on several cell phones.
Assistant Principal Ray Ginter said the students were boys and girls, mainly freshmen.
“Sexting” is when someone sends a sexually explicit message or picture to someone on a cell phone or computer via the Internet.
The investigation began after school officials were told a student had some pictures on their phone of other students.
After further investigation, it was determined that several students were involved.
“We talked to several kids,” Ginter said. “We found an ‘inappropriate picture’ on their phones.”
“We knew there was going to be a long list of kids, so not knowing when we would complete it, we figured on Friday that the best thing to do would start the punishment on Monday.”
The students were suspended from class on Monday. They were not allowed to attend the homecoming dance on Saturday night.
According to school policy, Ginter said anyone who is being punished would not be able to participate in any extracurricular activities, including athletic events or clubs on the following Monday.
Those students are also prohibited from bringing their cell phones on campus for the rest of the year.
“We are doing everything we can to not only protect these children but to educate them, and also make sure that something like this does not happen again,” Ginter said.
Teachers at Rowan County allow the students to have their phones at school but only when the lesson requires them to help find an answer or use as a way to choose an answer for a question.
Both Ginter and Supt. Marvin Moore said kids are going to make mistakes and they are being held accountable for their actions.
“We’re going to send a message that this behavior will not be tolerated,” Moore said.
“That’s one of the angles we use at Rowan County is to use discipline as a teaching tool, ” Ginter said. “Virtually everybody that I have spoken to has been 100 percent honest with me. It’s not been an easy investigation because you never like it when kids are getting into trouble, but as far as the cooperation from the kids, staff, and the parents, the support has been tremendous.”
Ginter said some parents are supporting the school’s decision to suspend the students and even continuing the punishment at home.
“We’re suspending the kids from school and we’re prohibiting them from bringing those phones to school,” Ginter said. “Most of the parents are even taking their phones for a period of time and they’ve talked about grounding their children.”
“The object of the punishment is to not to hurt them academically, but to teach them what they did is wrong,” Ginter said.
Ginter said the students suspended for Monday were expected to return to class Tuesday.
The Morehead News learned Monday that an investigation of the incident has been initiated by Deputy Sheriff Mark Padgett, who is assigned to RCSHS on a full-time basis.
MacKenzie Bates can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 784-4116.