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Students Charged With Posting Doctored Images Of Classmates, Staff

Marissa Bailey (CBS) Marissa Bailey
Marissa Bailey is the weekend anchor of the CBS 2 Chicago morning...
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WHEATON, Ill. (CBS) – Two middle school students in west suburban Wheaton were facing felony charges, after allegedly posting inappropriate images depicting students and staff at their school.

CBS 2’s Marissa Bailey reports the students at Edison Middle School allegedly pasted the faces of classmates and staff members onto graphic images, then posted them on an Instagram account they created.

“What they were doing was taking inappropriate and graphic images, and then taking headshots of students and other staff members, and creating a fake image,” said Wheaton Warrenville Community Unit School District 200 spokeswoman Erica Loiacono.

The fake images were then posted to Instagram for all to see.

School officials would only say both students are 14 years old. They were charged as juveniles with three counts of harassment by electronic communications, four counts of obscenity and one count of transmission of obscene messages.

“It was brought to our attention several weeks ago through some parents and the local police department,” Loiacono said.

It’s not clear if the students involved were boys or girls, how many pictures were posted, or how long the account was active, but district officials said they notified parents immediately.

“We did send an email to parents, just letting them know what had happened, and reminding them the importance of talking to their kids about how to use social media appropriately,” Loiacono said.

Sources said the two students who were charged were not in school on Tuesday, and had been disciplined by the school, but a spokesperson would not give details of the punishment.

One parent said raising a teen in a digital world can be challenging.

“It’s what happens today, and I think it’s a good excuse to talk to our kids about it,” Kelly Vail said.

Nancy Hablutzel a professor at IIT-Chicago Kent College of Law, says parents should be checking their kids’ phones every day. When kids resist the adults now have a serious example to use in their lectures.

“These children need to understand that whatever happens to them now, is going to stick with them,” Hablutzel.

District officials said they’ve held parenting seminars to teach parents how to talk to their kids about the importance of social media responsibility.