CHICAGO (CBS) — Just months after going co-ed, a Catholic high school in the Bronzeville neighborhood has become the focus of a police investigation into sexually explicit photos students allegedly shared with each other.
CBS 2’s Chris Martinez reports a staff member at Hales Franciscan High School has alleged the sexting might have risen to the level of a crime.
As the school day began on Friday, the unfolding scandal was very much at the top of the minds of parents taking their kids to school at Hales Franciscan.
“I’m very very surprised, and very shocked that this occurred, and sorry that this is happening,” one mother said.
Police were first called to the school on Saturday, when they learned of sexually explicit images of a female making the rounds at the school, via text messages. It’s believed everyone involved, including the girl, is a student at Hales Franciscan.
One school official told police a more serious crime might have been committed, based on conversations with students, police said.
School president Jeffrey Gray acknowledged school officials knew about the sexually explicit images for weeks, before police got involved.
“I would say maybe a little less than 30 days. We did not think it was a criminal act, because dealing with minors, and we brought the parents in, and all the students talked about it,” he said.
Gray said students have been disciplined in connection with the images, and he thought that was the end of it, until someone outside the school contacted the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.
That brought in police, who said the images might rise to the level of a crime, but they are waiting for the name of the female in the photo to be provided, so they can determine if a crime was committed.
After 50 years as a boys-only school, this is the first year the Bronzeville school is co-ed, though there are only 10 new girls in a school of 120.
“It’s disgusting any way you put it,” one father said. “Porn is porn.”
Gray had words of warning for students.
“Don’t do it. It’s not worth the headache and the pain; aggravation to your parents, to your school community. Don’t do it,” he said.