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Evanston High Baseball Team Forfeits Playoffs Over Sexting Allegations

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Updated 05/24/13 – 2:22 p.m.

EVANSTON, Ill. (CBS) – The Evanston Township High School baseball team has been forced to forfeit this weekend’s playoffs, in the wake of sexting allegations involving the players.

The team had been scheduled to play Taft High School on Friday, but now their season is over. A spokesperson for the Illinois High School Association said ETHS would be fined at least $200 for forfeiting the game against Taft, for costs related to the championship.

It was not immediately clear if the boys had been suspended. School officials so far have said only that “appropriate actions have been taken,” and have not commented further on what disciplinary action was taken, or how many students were disciplined.

In a letter to parents, ETHS District 202 Supt. Eric Witherspoon said some girls at the high school had been using their cell phones to send nude photos of themselves to members of the baseball team.

CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports some of the team members spread those photos around, but none of them would admit who did it, so the entire team was disciplined.

“They are a good team, which is a shame,” senior Henry Doyle said.

Sophomore Aly Singleton said, “You shouldn’t be sending pictures of people around, but I don’t know, I feel like some people should have been punished, I don’t know if it should have been the whole team.”

Junior Joan Gibbons disagreed. She said it’s only fair since the players wouldn’t cooperate, so there’s no way to know who shared the photos and who didn’t.

It was unclear if any of the girls who originally sent the photos have been disciplined.

Students at ETHS said they’ve known about the incident since Monday.

“I know some friends who are involved, and it’s pretty embarrassing for the school that our reputation has to deal with this,” Doyle said.

Sophomore Ashley Dean called it “appalling and disgusting.”

Witherspoon said it wasn’t an isolated case, and parents and students agreed.

“It’s undeniable,” Doyle said.

Parent Jen Kruper said, “I wasn’t surprised, because I do know it’s something that happens fairly frequently in this age group. But I think it’s good reminder to talk to each of our kids not to engage that kind of behavior.”

Kruper’s son plays for a different varsity sport, and she believes the district did the right thing.

“I think it’s appropriate. Kids these days are smart enough and savvy enough to know that that behavior is inappropriate,” she said.

It was not clear what consequences the girls who took the pictures of themselves would face.

The district said it notified Evanston police and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services of the investigation, but both agencies declined to take action.

Witherspoon urged parents to speak with their children about sexting, to tell them it is a bad idea, and to remind them that compromising photos can come back to haunt them years from now.

“The incident is not an isolated one,” he wrote. “We know that as more and more young people become connected in the digital age, sexting will remain a top concern for parents and educators.”

He urged children to tell an adult whenever receiving an inappropriate photo by e-mail, by social media or through other group chat applications. He reminded parents that circulating sexting photos can itself be a crime.

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