NICKERSON, Kan. — Several students and parents at two Reno County schools were interviewed after sheriff’s investigators received reports of reports of inappropriate pictures being circulated on phones at the schools, Reno County authorities said.

Phones also were confiscated at Reno Valley Middle School and Nickerson High School after law enforcement was notified of a problem Wednesday and spent the day interviewing people, The Hutchinson News reported (http://bit.ly/2cWTTYT).

Reno County Sheriff Capt. Steve Lutz said Friday the investigation is ongoing. Lutz did not know who notified law enforcement but he thought it was a teacher or school administration.

The Nickerson-South Hutchinson school district “is cooperating with the Reno County Sheriff’s Office,” Superintendent Dawn Johnson said in a statement.

“We are taking appropriate action to ensure the safety and well-being of our students,” said Johnson, who declined to release more information.

Parents learned of the investigation from their children. Reno Valley Principal Vince Naccarato said in an email that two officers were at the school Wednesday but “due to student confidentiality,” he could not disclose why.

“If this were an issue regarding the safety of our students, I would reach out to the parents and let them know as much as I possibly could,” Naccarato wrote. “With this situation, the safety of our students was not at risk. In regards to this incident, the parents of the students involved were notified of what was happening and came to the school to visit with the officer.”

Reno County District Attorney Keith Schroeder said students sending nude or suggestive pictures of themselves to fellow students, known as sexting, has become the biggest problem in his county.

“For some reason, we have individuals – both teenagers and not – who think that is acceptable and think they’re technologically superior to adults,” Schroeder said of sexting. Law enforcement is able to retrieve data and images after they have been deleted, Schroeder said.

Possible criminal charges could include sexual exploitation of a child or manufacturing and distributing child pornography.


Information from: The Hutchinson (Kan.) News, http://www.hutchnews.com