School Climate & Safety

Pa. Attorney General Investigates Site With ‘Inappropriate Photos’ of Students

By Evie Blad — November 04, 2014 1 min read
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The Pennsylvania attorney general’s office is investigating a website that contains inappropriate photos and comments about female students in the state’s Penn Hills School District, the district said in a statement posted online Tuesday.

Students reported the website, called “Penn Hills Live,” to a high school principal following a presentation by the attorney general’s office last month about “the dangers of posting information to the Internet,” says the statement from the 5,000-student district.

The principal immediately reported the website to law enforcement officials, including the attorney general’s office, and the district initiated its own internal investigation, the statement says. The website was taken down the afternoon the investigations started, and no district technology was used in its creation, it says.

“We want to assure the parents that when the District became aware of the situation, it acted immediately and appropriately to involve the proper authorities,” the statement says. “Our first priority was and continues to be minimizing attention to this website and in so doing protecting the students who were victims of this website from further exposure. With that in mind and with investigations continuing, the District will not be making any further comment on this matter.”

While the district did not offer details about the type or amount of information posted on the website, a former school board member told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette the site contained “several sexually explicit photos of nude girls.”

Around the country, students who have shared nude images of underage peers online have faced sanctions under laws relating to child pornography and cyberbullying.

In March, North Carolina’s attorney general launched a similar investigation after officials in Wake County discovered an Instagram account that contained nude photos of more than 70 high school students.

Relevant reading: The Atlantic recently published an excellent story about why teens sext.

Found something that needs to be taken down? The Cyberbullying Research Center has a useful list of ways to report inappropriate posts on various social media networks.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Rules for Engagement blog.