Note to Self

When a School Has a Sexting Scandal

November 10, 201526 min
Last week, Cañon City, Colorado discovered that dozens of students at the local high school had been taking and trading nude photographs "like baseball cards," shaking up the parents, police, and schools. In a town best-known for one of the tallest suspension bridges in the world, this was – to put it mildly – big news. 
According to local reporter Sarah Rose, residents of the town have been pretty much unable to talk about anything else since. And the rest of the world has come knocking as well – media outlets from New York to Japan have shown up to chronicle the unfolding drama. It's a whole lot of anxiety and it's a compelling story: Through an anonymous tip, authorities discovered a system of nude photos hidden away in secret "vault" apps on students' phones. The apps – disguised as calculators or media players – hid more than 400 revealing photos. According to Fremont County District Attorney Thom LeDoux, even some of the teens involved could face charges related to the production, possession and distribution of sexual exploitive material.
Yeah. It's a dramatic story... but it's also not the only one like it. In this story from Long Island, two teens were arrested and more were suspended from school over sharing a sexually explicit video involving two minors. And a 17-year-old in South Carolina is being charged as an adult for exchanging nude photos with his girlfriend.  We've decided we need to talk about it.
So this is where we'll start: What do you think we really need to worry about when it comes to teens and sexts? Email us or send a voice memo to with your thoughts.
In this week's episode:
George Welsh, superintendent of Cañon City Schools
Susannah Stern, Professor of Communications at the University of San Diego
Julie Turkewitz, staff reporter at The New York Times
Sarah Rose, reporter at the Cañon City Daily Record
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