RIDGEFIELD PARK, N.J. -- Ridgefield Park police confirmed Thursday that an eighth-grade student at the junior-senior high school "sent a suggestive photograph" to another student via cellphone text.
School officials provided counseling for the juveniles involved as part of a 5-point action plan recommended by the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office, said Lt. Joseph Rella, who was to speak with students during an assembly at the school.
Rella was explaining "the law and its consequences" at the closed session, Ridgefield Park Jr. /Sr. High School Principal James Donohue said.
"We believe we have this contained," Donohue told Daily Voice. Some students "don't know how to use cell phones [properly]."
Authorities were giving all students "amnesty" until the end of this coming Tuesday to remove any digital images they may have sent or received.
"Any student who fails to comply with the designated deadline to delete and all inappropriate or suggestive images/videos may be subjected to having charges signed against them for juvenile delinquency," Rella said Thursday afternoon.
"The Ridgefield Park School District and Ridgefield Park Police Department want all children to understand that this behavior is inappropriate, illegal, and potentially dangerous," Donohue emphasized in an email to parents -- which was also part of the action plan.
The uproar began after authorities discovered that some students were "using cell phones and e-mails to send images of naked or semi-naked pictures," the principal wrote.
Under New Jersey law, "possession or transmission of sexually revealing or explicit images falls under the 'endangering the welfare of a child' statute," he noted. "It is illegal to create/manufacture, transfer, transmit, or possess child pornography.
"We ask that parents ensure that all cell phones and other electronic devices be cleared of all questionable images or movies," Donohue wrote. "In order for our children to thrive in a healthy environment, the cooperation between the schools, police, and parents is vital."