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Did you know that if your child receives and fails to report an inappropriate email, text, video or photo, he or she could face criminal charges that may stay on their record indefinitely?
That's why parents are encouraged to attend a student assembly on digital citizenship at Neligh-Oakdale on Thursday, Feb. 12, at 1:10 p.m. Superintendent Kimberly Lingenfelter said the assembly is for students in grades 7-12 and will be held in the high school gym.
"It's important for parents to attend this assembly, so that they know what criminal consequences their children may be facing with today's technology," Lingenfelter said. "Even if they did not create the content, if they don't report it, they can face criminal charges that include child pornography. They could be facing felony charges, having to register as a sex offender and having that appear on every background check that's ran when they apply for a job - all because of something that happened when they were a teenager."
Parents were notified of the assembly via the school's phone alert and email system on Friday afternoon, as well as through the daily announcements. Lingenfelter said Bobby Truhe, an attorney with H&S School Law in Lincoln, will present the assembly.
The announcement instructed students that should they receive something inappropriate, "Do not share it or forward it on to others or print the material. This also includes sharing inappropriate things through social media. You can get into serious trouble, which can include criminal charges, even if you did not take the picture or video or create the message. Please be good digital citizens and make sure that you are making good decisions with your cell phones, tablets and laptops and also with social media and photography/video devices. One bad decision could be very costly to you and your family."
Lingenfelter said she and several school board members heard the presentation during the Nebraska State Education Conference last November, which documented a case involving the successful prosecution of a 16-year-old as an adult for sending naked photos of an ex-girlfriend, who was also 16, to those in his contact list.
Because teenagers are considered smarter than their parents with technology, the presentation said the individual was successfully prosecuted as an adult, Lingenfelter said.
"We're talking about the impact on the rest of a child's life," she said. "There are serious consequences, and both students and their parents need to be aware of them and have those conversations before mistakes happen. Deleting those messages doesn't erase receiving them. They need to be reported immediately."
Lingenfelter said parents and students will receive more information on sending and receiving inappropriate messages, as well as the consequences during Thursday's assembly.