UNION COUNTY, GA (WSB/CNN) – Around 50 students were involved in a sexting scandal in a north Georgia county, about 90 miles north of Atlanta.
Union County Schools Superintendent John Hill says a parent informed the Union County High School principal of a sexting scandal last month.
“It grew into a fairly large investigation, involving over 50 students," Hill said. That’s nearly 6 percent of the school’s population.
School police now believe 46 students were involved in the illegal exchange of nude photographs of each other.
"[Sexting] is a nationwide problem, but we have realized it has come to Union County High School," he said.
Hill said the students involved are as young as 14 and as old as 18.
The district could have pressed felony child porn charges but decided against it.
"In Georgia, if you’re under the age of 18, that’s actually manufacturing and distribution of child pornography."
The superintendent says the student code of conduct guided the punishments, which ranged from short-term suspension to alternative school.
"Most of the kids do not have a clue that they are committing a crime," Hill said.
Wednesday in Blairsville, GA, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the district attorney teamed up to educate Union County high and middle school students about sexting, emphasizing nude photos could get in the hands of child predators.
“We will be looking at curriculum to implement next year with all our students on cyber safety," Hill said.
Hill said a community meeting will be held on sexting led by the GBI and district attorney’s office.