A Thomas Jefferson High School cheerleader who disseminated an explicit image of a male student to a cheerleading group text could face criminal charges.
The Federal Way Police Department investigated the incident on Oct. 22, when a school administrator reported that the cheerleading coach informed her one of her athletes had been disseminating the photo of the student’s genitals, according to the Federal Way police report.
The picture was discovered after several girls were texting each other back and forth on the matter with different memes and gifs containing messages about inappropriate things, the report continues.
At this point, some of the female students got offended by it, and brought it to the coach’s attention.
The cheerleader who sent the picture admitted that the male student texted her the photo of himself while they were talking a few months prior. She saved the photo and then sent it out to the group text at school, thinking it would be humorous, she told police.
School administration suspended her for two days out of school, according to the report.
The male student told police he knew about the picture going around after his current girlfriend found out and notified him, and he did not give the girl permission to disseminate the photo.
Police forwarded the case to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office Juvenile Division, who will determine if charges will be filed.
“We hold our students to high standards and expect them to conduct themselves responsibly and appropriately at all times while at school,” according to a statement from Federal Way Public Schools. “In the Rights and Responsibilities student handbook, the district highlights the need for scholars to use media and technology in positive ways and stresses the importance of using good behavior online, utilizing digital resources in a legal, moral and ethical manner.”
The statement continues: “The district has a system in place to address misbehaviors and administer appropriate consequences. We would like to thank the student who reported the incident so we could take immediate action, and value the partnership with our local law enforcement to investigate the matter.
“It’s important for all of us – staff, parents, scholars and community – to reinforce the importance of responsible online behavior.”