Sexting seminar allows students to discuss controversial issue

MIPA students voiced their thoughts and asked questions during the sexting seminar that took place in the Business Complex on Aug. 1 during the 2011 MIPA Summer Journalism Workshops. A panel of experts ranging from a state police seargent to a mental health therapist answered students’ questions regarding various aspects of sexting.

Seargent Jay Poupard opened the question-answer seminar by explaining some basic facts about sexting.

“There is no legal definition for sexting,” Poupard said. “When I personally think of sexting, I think of images people are able to take on devices.  Anywhere from 800 to 1,200 people are prosecuted in Michigan every year. Sexting here tonight is especially about child exploitation.”

Students went on throughout the seminar to ask a broad variety of questions ranging from how school administrations inform parents about sexting to the prosecution process of sexting offenders. Among these students was Rachel Podnar who asked how the issue of sexting becomes pertinent to school officials or even law enforcement.

Rachel Podnar asks administrator Sean Wade a question regarding sexting. The sexting seminar was held in lieu of evening classroom-time for some classes. Photo by Tommy Behan / Upstart Staff

“We find out about sexting through friends who feel uncomfortable and are worried or even through a friend of a friend,” Sean Wade, assistant principal of Dewitt High School,
said. “Sometimes parents come to us or in other cases cell phone companies let us know.”

The sexting seminar concluded with the panel giving final thoughts on sexting, making a public service announcement to the onlooking students. Story By Tommy Behan, Video By Aimee Dedic, Samantha VanHoef and Camille King / Upstart Staff

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