Give rambunctious adolescents camera phones what do you get? A big, messy scandal, that's what!
Numerous students at Lakeville's Century Middle School have been suspended after a student snapped an inappropriate photo of another student with a phone, then shared the image with fellow students.
A 7th grader at Century says the "rumor going around" is that 61 students have been suspended, three expelled, and all but one of the suspended students in 8th grade. But otherwise tight-lipped school administrators say less than 50 students have been punished as a result of the scandal.
[jump] The Star Tribune reports that "chatter among Lakeville students on Twitter" suggests the scandal began when one female student snapped an "inappropriate" photo of another in a locker room, then sent it to other students. Some students took to social media to crack jokes about friends and relatives who had been suspended after school officials caught wind that the photo had been shared around campus.
According to the Pioneer Press, school administrators became aware on Monday that students were possibly violating a fellow student's privacy electronically. The school released a statement this week saying "we are very limited in what we can communicate as a result of legal requirements and concern for the adolescent students involved," but added that "appropriate actions were taken to address this situation."
Lakeville Police Chief Tom Vonhof said his department is investigating the situation. The students responsible for disseminating the Lakeville photo could face criminal consequences -- in Washington state, three students were charged with disseminating child pornography after passing on nude photos of a classmate that went viral. The charges were later reduced to misdemeanors for telephone harassment.
Meanwhile, the 7th grader at Century says that in the wake of the scandal, teachers and administrators have been warning students over, and over, and over again about the risks of using technology inappropriately.
"There's been like 20,000 talks about using electronics appropriately during class," she says.