Police are investigating a middle school boy from Brentwood who allegedly used sexually explicit images of a female classmate to force her to engage in sexual acts, and several more students who allegedly exchanged lewd cellphone photos. Officers were dispatched around 9:50 a.m. Monday to Adams Middle School at 401 American Ave. in Brentwood after school staff reported that several students had been caught exchanging images of themselves “in various stages of undress,” according to police.
Police said further investigation revealed that several 12- to 14-year-old students at Adams Middle School, Bristow Middle School and Edna Hill Middle School in Brentwood as well as Excelsior Middle School in Byron had been exchanging sexually explicit images of one another via cellphone and other electronic devices. Investigators also found that one boy used explicit images of a female student to force her into sex acts while on campus, police said. School administrators disciplined all of the students involved and police are working with school staff and parents to gather additional information.
The cases will be forwarded to the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office for review and possible filing of criminal charges, police said. Brentwood Union School District Superintendent Dana Eaton said Adams Middle School Principal Kelly Manke on Monday determined the allegations were “very serious and got police involved right away.” A letter went home to parents at Adams Middle School on Thursday about students exchanging inappropriate pictures and urged parents to talk to their children about appropriate cellphone and Internet use.
Parents are also asked to remind their children to report any inappropriate images they have received to an adult. “I have a middle schooler myself and I think all of us as adults need to continue to remind the students that their online interactions have real-world consequences,” Eaton said. “We need to continue to look for ways to get the message across to students, but it’s a rapidly changing and challenging thing for parents to stay ahead of,” he said.
Eaton said counselors are available to students at each of the middle schools and administrators are increasing their presence on campus today to respond to parents’ concerns about the incidents. Brentwood police said over the past year, officers have worked closely with the schools in the Liberty Union High School District to educate parents and staff about Internet safety, cyber bullying and the dangers of sexting. A similar presentation was held at Adams Middle School last month, according to administrators. Parents can find more information about cellphone and Internet safety at netsmartz.org.
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