Back to School, Back to Sexting

Police already handling spate of sexting cases in Fairfax County

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    FAIRFAX, Va. -- The school year isn't even a month old in Fairfax County, and already police are handling a spate of "sexting" cases.

    Four cases of students sending nude photos of themselves to other teenagers are under investigation at one high school. In one case, the student was just 14 years old.

    "The Fairfax County Police Department does take the issue of sending nude photos amongst kids very seriously," Fairfax County police spokeswoman Lucy Caldwell said.

    School Resource Officer Marc MacDonald said that often times the students don't realize what they are doing is wrong.

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    Police work to stop students from sending explicit images to each other.

    "Hopefully through education we can change that," he said.

    The education campaign began in the spring with a community meeting to alert parents to the trend and continued in the summer with special training for school resource officers and principals.

    "Once you start educating the community about the issue, they're going to report it more because you're going to see parents identifying the issue more, and that will increase the reporting," MacDonald said.

    Punishing the teens isn't the goal of the investigations. Preventing the spread of the pictures is.

    "Unfortunately once the image is sent, we will attempt to erase it from everywhere we can, but if it gets on the Internet, it's very difficult to ensure that the image will be deleted from everywhere forever," MacDonald said.

    No charges have been filed yet with the recent cases.