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8th-grade 'Sexting' Incident Under Investigation

Greenwich school official: E-mailed nude photos apparently involve Western Middle School girls.

Greenwich Police are investigating the e-mailing of nude photos by eighth-grade female students at Western Middle School, Greenwich Patch has learned.

"On Tuesday, the way (school administrators) found out about the texting is they were alerted to a rumor about a possible fight between two or three girls (from Western) and one of the girls from Port Chester (NY)," Greenwich Public Schools spokesman Kim Eves said Thursday. "In the process of investigating that rumor, they were alerted to the that fact that this texting back and forth of nude pictures was happening and they called in our security director, and the police were alerted."

Eves added, "We are not investigating. The police are investigating."

Greenwich Police Sgt. Mark Zuccerella of the Special Victims Section said, "This is an ongoing investigation that I cannot comment on." He added, "We don't have the full facts ... if this is actually a sexting case or not without talking to everybody."

"Sexting is a term coined by the media that generally refers to sending, receiving, or forwarding sexually suggestive nude or nearly nude photos or sexually suggestive messages through text message or e-mail," according to the  Crisis Intervention Center, a Ft. Smith, AR-based agency that provides assistance to victims of and education about domestic violence and sexual abuse.

According to Eves, Western's principal Terry Starr-Klein sent a voice-mail message via ParentLink to the parents of all 169 eighth-graders Wednesday night "alerting them the situation, asking them to have a discussion with their children about sending inappropariate material that has a legal consequence and to be more proactive on discussing this issue with their children and that (the school) will have another parent" forum to discuss Internet safety regarding their children.

The school district's mental health professionals met with all 8th-grade students on Wednesday to discuss "internet safety - that it is inappropriate, illegal and unhealthy" to send sexually-explicit messages via cellphones and computers, Eves said. "They met with the girls and the boys separately" at the school on Western Junior Highway.

Eves said that "at this point" there isn't any indication school computers were used to send the nude photos. She also said that "some of the students involved have been identified, but not all of them." She did not have information on which school the Port Chester students attend.

At this point, Eves said, there also isn't any indication that students' actions would warrant discipline. However, there is school district policy dictating disciplinary actions if any student is arrested.

Eves also said, "Digital citizenship is the overarching strand in our sixth- to eighth-grade media curriculum. Inappropriate e-mail is addressed so they’ve heard this message."

Greenwich Patch will have more details as they become available.

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