FLORENCE, Ala. — Students at Florence Middle School shuffled through the halls to get to their classes Thursday morning. In one 8th grade classroom, Florence Police officers stood by to deliver an important message.
“We’re doing a program that the assistant district attorney has gotten with us and wanted us to do,” said Officer Justin Hill. “It’s a program on sexting—the dangers of sexting and then also kind of an awareness class for domestic violence as well as terroristic threats.”
During the presentation, students were informed about the consequences of producing or distributing nude photos of themselves.
“If you send that picture one time, you could sit in jail or in prison up to 20 years,” explained Officer Chadwick Breedwell when addressing the class on the consequences of distributing child pornography.
For students, learning about the consequences was a wake-up call. “Some people were definitely shocked about the time that they could have—the time they could spend in prison, the punishments, the phones being taken away and everyone being able to go through it,” said 8th grader MaLyric Scott.
It’s not always an easy conversation to have but Officer Hill said it’s necessary to inform students and keep them safe. A lot of times, especially the age that middle schoolers are, 12, 13, 14 years old, they don’t realize the ramifications that there are consequences for their actions,” said Hill.
For any students who may currently have those types of images on their devices, the district attorney’s office is allowing the Florence Police Department to offer a period of amnesty to delete them, giving the students the chance to avoid a life-altering burden.