GRANGER TOWNSHIP, Ohio- The buzz at Highland High School on Wednesday was not the Hornets upcoming playoff game. It was the news that four boys who attend the school are facing juvenile charges of unruliness, for posting sexually explicit photographs of female classmates on the internet.
The Medina County Sheriff’s Office said the girls had taken the explicit photos of themselves three years ago, unaware that they would later be posted on the web.
Parents who live in the Highland District said the case is a cautionary tale for all families. Lisa Fillinger, who is the mother of six children, told FOX 8, “Well it’s disturbing first of all that we haven’t taught our sons that those are not appropriate things to re-send, and it’s also sad that we haven’t taught our girls that it’s not appropriate to take those sorts of pictures.”
Granger Township resident Marvin Baker added, “You know, they’re too young and they don’t understand what the ramifications of their choices are, and when they get a little older, they’ll look back on that and think it was pretty stupid but right now they don’t get it.”
Highland Schools Superintendent Catherine Aukerman said the photos were not taken or posted on school property or during school hours. The sheriff’s office said the Medina County Prosecutor decided that the boys involved should not be charged with a more serious charge of delinquency for re-sending the images because they could end up being classified as sex offenders.
Parents we spoke with seem to think that was a wise decision. “Because I don’t think the boys are thinking, obviously, when they are doing it, but there has to be a consequence, that they understand that they cannot do that ever again,” said Fillinger.
The sheriff’s office said the prosecutor elected not to file charges against the girls who originally took the so-called ‘selfies,’ because of the passage of time and because they did not know how the images would be used. “I don’t know if it’s wise or not. I think they should have some consequences as well, because if we hold our boys accountable, we have to also hold our girls accountable as well,” said Fillinger.
The outcome of the investigation is prompting some families to revisit the issue of sexting.
Marvin Baker told FOX 8, “You tell them never ever would it be acceptable to do that, you know, just the idea you have to have the discussion about sexting is enough to make you want to be sick, but you ultimately feel, we do, that we have to because that’s part of our society these days.”