Ultimatum for Students in Bernards NJ Middle School Sexting Outbreak

Middle school students in Bernards Township New Jersey face what looks like an easy decision today – delete all evidence of explicit photos from their cell phones by today, or face suspension and potential legal action.

Superintendent Nick Markarian said in an interview with News 12 NJ that the Bernards Township police had been involved, and that they are on board with the options as presented.

It seems obvious to us that if photos on a cell phone cause a disruption in class, and they also violate child pornography laws, administrators are going to get involved. The fact that they they brought in the police is no surprise. We were surprised to see some of the comments on News 12’s Facebook page, where some people clearly think the students’ rights are being violated:

“There is NO WAY the School or ANY public official should be looking at private peoples phones…Sexting or NOT…”


“While carrying around nude pictures of your classmates is wrong I think that there are REAL 4th Amendment issues here. The kids should be told that the ONLY correct response to “Show me your phone” is “Get a warrant””

Anybody focused on the kids’ rights here is fighting an uphill, and probably unwinnable battle. What goes on at school will be policed by the school if it causes a disruption.

For the parents involved, we hope they’re using this as an opportunity to review with their kids what is okay and what isn’t with respect to cell phones, and to actually take a look at those phones and see for themselves what is on them.

One last quote from the Facebook comments:

“Okay so picture 2 kids sitting in class “Hey jimmy check this out!”

It’s a picture of your 12-year-old daughter. Is that over reaching now?”

You don’t want that to be your son or daughter. Talk to your teens and tweens about the dangers of sexting.


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