A sexting scandal that directly involved three students — two who were filmed in a sexual encounter and a third who recorded it — has led to the suspension of more than 20 teens at one high school.
A letter sent home this week to parents in the Smithtown Central School District in New York explained that “the district has recently been notified that two 14-year-old students have been arrested following an alleged off-campus incident.” It went on to explain that “the alleged incident, sexual in nature, was recorded and distributed electronically and through the use of social media applications.” The boy involved in the encounter and the boy who recorded it have both been charged with felonies for distributing child pornography, according to NBC New York.
The 10-second video was passed around the student body of Kings Park High School, according to NBC New York, and the school has disciplined approximately 20 teens accused of watching or sharing the recording.
But some students, who say they received the video with no prior knowledge of it, are complaining that they’ve been unfairly punished. “When I got the video, I didn’t know what it was,“ AJ Fenton, 15, told CBS News of a group text he received that included the video. He said a number of students were suspended for simply opening the video, even though they didn’t share it themselves.
"I viewed it. I didn’t know what it was at first. I clicked on it, deleted it right away,” Fenton told PIX11.
AJ’s father, Andrew Fenton, told CBS News that his son’s suspension should be overturned. “Nobody knows what’s coming to their phones. If he’s 18, colleges are going to say ‘Were you ever suspended from school?’ He’s going to have to say yes,“ said Fenton. "The next question is, why? And according to what the administration was telling me on Friday, child porn was on his phone.”
Andrew doesn’t deny that the incident is an unfortunate one. “This is a tragedy that this girl’s picture of whatever she was doing got sent around the school,” Andrew told NBC New York. Still, he says AJ did nothing wrong. “My son’s job was to do what he did. He opened it, saw what it was and deleted it.“
AJ says next time, he’ll be even more careful. "Not opening it at all,” he told CBS News of his plans should another video get sent his way. “Just deleting it right away.”
(Top photo: Stocksy)