Police and DCFS have been notified after students took a photo of a fellow student who was using the bathroom at a Waukegan middle school and posted the photo on social media.
Waukegan Public Schools Director of Communications Nicholas Alatzakis said an investigation has been opened at Edith Smith Middle School and is ongoing.
The school has been in contact with law enforcement and DCFS officials as part of the investigation.
Staff contacted the parents of the students involved after learning of the inappropriate photos.
“Staff was able to identify students believed to be responsible for the photos, while also working to have the images removed from social media,” Alatzakis said.
NBC 5 reported that a 12-year-old special needs boy, who is in sixth grade at the school, had photos taken of him while he was using the restroom.
The photos were then posted by students on Instagram, his mother said.
Alatzakis said that student and parent education around positive digital citizenship and the consequences of cyberbullying, including the sharing of inappropriate images or videos on social media, is ongoing.
In a letter sent to parents last week, Principal Yvonne Brown said the school hosted meetings with students about the importance of being “responsible digital citizens” along with appropriate cell phone, Chromebook and social media usage.
“In recent weeks we have unfortunately witnessed students using their cell phones to share inappropriate content on social media,” Brown said.
The school told students they do not tolerate the use of digital media to harass, bully or threaten others.
“We also want to remind parents that the malicious sharing or distribution of inappropriate or illegal content can also have legal consequences as well, especially when it relates to sharing explicit photos or videos,” Brown said.
“We know that the majority of our students are responsibly using their phone and social media every day, and we thank them for modeling good digital citizenship. This appropriate usage is something we encourage and model at Smith,” Brown added.
Parents and guardians were encouraged by the school to monitor their child’s cell phone usage and online presence.
“Please remind your child that the things they post online can be seen by anyone, anywhere, at any time, and they should use caution before posting anything that is potentially harmful,” Brown said in the letter.