Munster High students to be suspended for sexting

2013-02-11T17:55:00Z 2013-02-13T13:16:07Z Munster High students to be suspended for sextingBy Carmen McCollum carmen.mccollum@nwi.com, (219) 662-5337 nwitimes.com

MUNSTER | About a dozen Munster High School students will be suspended for sexting at school Friday.

Richard Sopko, School City of Munster superintendent, said students were involved in inappropriate texting after one student reported the incident to school leaders. School officials have not confirmed it but sources said students were sending partially nude photos. 

"Those that were involved will be suspended," Sopko said. "Parents are upset about it, but the administrators have done a great job. We had the Munster Police Department involved, the school attorney was involved. We have talked to officials. I believe it's under control. It's a case of students making bad decisions."

Munster Police Chief Stephen Scheckel said they were called in to investigate the case. He said he could not "confirm or deny" that students were sending partially nude photos. "We're still investigating. No one has been arrested so far. We are still trying to ferret out who sent what to whom," he said. 

Sopko, who plans to meet with Munster High Principal Steve Tripenfeldas on Tuesday morning, said school leaders are still meting out discipline.

"The investigation is still under way," Sopko said Monday morning. "Once the cellphone is confiscated, we have the right to look at it. I know that one student already was suspended based on something found on the cellphone, which was unrelated to this incident."

The Munster student handbook says cellular phones must be turned off and out of sight from zero period to the conclusion of the day, Sopko said. Students who have their cellphones impounded give school administrators access to voicemail, text messages, call logs, picture galleries, memory cards, etc. 

Sopko said there are 58 references in the handbook regarding electronic devices, including 24 directly related to cellphones. The School Board policy also refers to cellphone use, saying cellphones must be "powered off" during the day unless there is prior approval. Violation may result in disciplinary action. Discipline can range from a warning to an expulsion depending on the severity of the violation.

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