Ridgewood School officials take softer approach in Ridgewood sexting case
Friday March 15, 2013, 9:21 PM
BY STEPHANIE AKIN
By now, this school-day story is familiar: a nude picture of a teenager that, in a moment of indiscretion, is sent to a friend and becomes infamous after it is distributed electronically.
And then it becomes the focus of a criminal investigation.
But as recent events in Ridgewood have illustrated, school officials’ and law-enforcement agencies’ approach to the increasingly common practice known as sexting, and its unintended consequences, has changed dramatically since the word first entered the American lexicon six years ago.
When Ridgewood officials learned that nude pictures of two girls were circulating among students, they announced that anyone with photos on their electronic devices had until Monday, a so-called amnesty period, to delete them or face criminal charges.
It’s a softer touch than one applied in 2010 in Clifton – to take one example – when a female student was charged with distribution of child pornography because she posted nude photos of herself on MySpace for her boyfriend to see. That charge meant she could face 17 years in prison and the requirement to register as a sex offender. It was later downgraded, and the girl received probation.