Students face suspension for sending nude photos by phone

Published on: 3/27/2009

As many as nine West Allis high school students face suspension for their alleged involvement in an incident in which nude photos of some students were sent via cell phone to other students, a West Allis police lieutenant said Friday.

Lt. Terry Morrissey, head of the police department's sensitive crimes unit, said no arrests will be made in the incident. He said the parents of all of the students involved had been notified. He said the students would face suspension from school for their actions.

Eight of the students attend Nathan Hale High School. One student attends West Allis Central High School.

Morrissey said it was his judgment that the photos of the nude students were not sexually explicit. He did not say how many nude photos were sent among the students who were involved.

Kurt Wachholz, superintendent of the West Allis-West Milwaukee School District, said in a statement released by the district Friday afternoon that the district was treating such incidents very seriously.

He said administrators from both Hale and Central were working closely with the West Allis Police Department to address the situation.

"We have strict expectations outlining cell phone usage. The safety of our children is our first priority," Wachholz said in the statement.

Wachholz added that the police department and the district's student service staff will explore "how we can further educate our youth on the dangers of this type of texting behavior."

Kathleen MacDonald, Hale's principal, declined to comment in detail on the incident, other than to call it an inappropriate use of text messaging. She said the school's investigation was ongoing.

Morrissey said it was not the first time he had been involved in a similar case involving students. He said that, next fall, the police department liaison to the school system would talk to students about the improper use of cell phones.