BETHALTO — Trimpe Middle School students will learn about the dangers of sexting in a presentation Wednesday by representatives of the Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office.
Assistant State’s Attorney Amy Gabriel will provide students with statistics on teens and sexting and criminal statutes and penalties associated with sexting and child pornography. Additionally, high-profile cases will be discussed with the students to provide them with real-life examples. The Illinois School Code provides for an Internet safety education curriculum to be utilized in Illinois Schools.
Last year, State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons announced the creation of a Children’s Justice Division within his office in an effort to better coordinate his office’s response to cases involving Madison County children. One of the goals in creating the division was to be more pro-active and communicate with children about important issues such as sexting. As a result, Gibbons began reaching out to local schools in order to teach children about sexting’s consequences. Gibbons said he hopes that if students are informed of the possible consequences of sexting, they will be equipped to make better decisions. “Sexting can be an extremely harmful action with devastating results,” Gibbons said. “We hope that by talking with students now, we can stop dangerous and potentially criminal behavior.”
He added that most students do not realize that if they send an explicit photo via text or an app, they can be charged with a crime.
Gabriel heads the Children’s Justice Division and she, along with Assistant State’s Attorney Lauren Heischmidt, who oversees the juvenile delinquency docket, will speak at schools throughout the district during the 2014-2015 school year.
“Our intent with these presentations is to provide the kids with a reality check about their behavior while emphasizing that their actions often have very serious consequences,” Gabriel said.
Earlier this year, Gabriel and Heischmidt spoke to students in several districts including Granite City, Collinsville and Madison.