Shakopee police, school investigating images shared by students

Shakopee police and the school district are investigating complaints of inappropriate images being shared among multiple students at Shakopee High School. Police told Fox 9 that criminal charges are possible.

Shakopee Police Chief Jeff Tate told Fox 9 that at the end of January a student approached a school resource officer inside the high school, concerned that inappropriate images were being shared or disseminated amongst classmates. Several students told Fox 9 it was a group chat involving hockey players.

“I’ve had some friends, their pictures were in there,” one student said. “I know how they felt. And seeing them that way, it was upsetting to a lot of people. There were lots of photos. Over 100.”

“I think the whole thing is stupid,” said another student. “It was a dumb move. People don’t deserve that. Stupid. Don’t know why they found it okay.”

Chief Tate wouldn’t describe the images, but explained there are lots of questions that need to be answered before the case heads to the Scott County Attorney’s Office for potential criminal charges.

“Were they shared? With who? Were they taken with consent?” Chief Tate asked. “All of those things are items we are looking into and trying to sort out.”

Shakopee police are urging parents to use this investigation to start some tough talks with teens about smart phones, photo taking, photo sharing and social media apps.

“Unfortunately, I think these types of cases are a lot more frequent than most of us want to believe they are,” Chief Tate said. “Talk to them about consequences. How would you feel if that image got out to several others in the school? Talk to them about their digital footprint. What is that? Help them understand the only way to make sure an inappropriate photo isn’t shared is never to take them in the first place.”

Several students told Fox 9 that teachers are Shakopee High School have been focused on the topic for several weeks now.

Statements from Shakopee Public Schools

“Shakopee Public Schools is investigating a matter that reportedly involves the transmittal of inappropriate images among some of our students,” the district said in a statement. “Due to data privacy restrictions, we can’t provide any further details. We are working with the Shakopee Police Department and providing assistance as needed. This is an open and active investigation. Therefore, no additional information will be released.”

“As we look into the matter, we want to encourage parents to talk to their children about the dangers of transmitting inappropriate images through email and/or text messages,” said a statement from Superintendent Dr. Rod Thompson. “Today’s students are connected to one another, and to the world, via digital technology more than any previous generation. Everything sent over the internet or a cell phone can be shared with the entire world, which is why it is important to exercise good judgment in sending and/or sharing messages and pictures. It is also imperative that parents talk with their children of all ages about social media and monitor their online social media use to help them navigate this new, everchanging online social world.”