This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, November 12, 2015:
The district attorney investigating the sexting scandal at a Colorado high school and middle school in Canon City said it isn’t likely that he will press charges as there appeared to be few victims, just willing participants. Besides, under Colorado law, charges filed could lead to forcing those charged with having to file as sex offenders with permanent damage to their futures.
So many students were involved in the sexting ring that the high school’s final football game was cancelled, as officials thought it would be inappropriate in light of the scandal to put their team on the field, especially as many of the players appeared to be involved in the ring.
Fremont County District Attorney Tom LaDoux said that, under Colorado law, individuals under age 18 cannot legally consent to taking or exchanging nude photographs, but he added, “I take the implication of that very seriously and would urge it only if I felt it was absolutely necessary. It is possible there will be no criminal charges filed at all.”
For at least the last three years, students have been hiding nude photographs of themselves and others in a “vault” app in their iPhones, hidden behind innocuous apps such as calculators, and allowing only those with special passwords to access them. Credits were given to those with the most photographs.
Some parents have known about the sexting and brought concerns to the school administration three years ago, but nothing was done until it grew so large and pervasive that finally something had to be done.
The investigation is ongoing, with at least one iPhone being confiscated and a search warrant being sought in an attempt to identify the students by their pictures. It’s expected to take several weeks before a final determination is made about whether charges will be filed in the case.
This is hardly an isolated case. According to Professor Jeff Temple at the University of Texas, nearly 30 percent of American teens have shared at least one nude photo of themselves with another teen on their phones. He added, “I would bet my mortgage it’s happening in every city.”
In Tennessee last week, police charged 16 high-school students in Greenbrier with sexual exploitation of a minor for allegedly distributing nude images of fellow students. In North Carolina two high-school students who were dating were charged with violating child-pornography laws there when they found nude photos on the boy’s iPhone.
Legislators and prosecutors are having difficulty determining what to do about the burgeoning technology that allows sexting to go undetected. In a values-free environment, the question boils down to what is right and wrong. In Colorado it doesn’t matter whether a student took and shared nude photos voluntarily — it’s still a crime. Some states, such as Connecticut, consider sexting a crime but have reduced its status from a felony to a misdemeanor. Other states, such as New York, are requiring those charged to attend a “diversion” program that focuses on the legal, mental, psychological, and social risks and implications of sexting. In simple terms, these students will be forced to undergo state-operated reeducation classes as a result of their crimes.
Psychologists such as Amy Adele Hasinoff, an assistant professor of communications at the University of Colorado, Denver, have struggled to find solutions in the value-free world of public education. In her book Sexting Panic, Hasinoff dances around the moral issues involved and instead focuses on the acceptability of “consensual sharing” and rejects the idea that sexting victimizes young women, encouraging them instead to make their own choices in a value-free world.
But it isn’t a value-free world. It’s a world in which one set of values, or another, will be taught to young innocents. When absolute truth is scoffed at, and relativism is the only truth, “safer sexting” with “trusted partners” is offered by Hasinoff as the only alternative.
This debauchery passing for truth has dismayed Pastor Voddie Bacham of Grace Family Baptist Church in Spring, Texas, for years. Writing at his Exodus Mandate blog, he has urged Christian parents with kids in the secular public schools to quit sending them there:
I am no fan of government education.… I try to make Biblical, philosophical and theological arguments in favor of Christian education as often as possible.
As David Alan Black, New Testament professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, put it:
No academic skepticism, no secularist authors, no blatant materialism can so undermine the spiritual life of the country like the completely secularized training of the child under the authority of the state….
If we think we can keep our children in a secular school system and escape the dumbed-down, amoral and immoral results of secular humanism in schools, we are sorely mistaken.
Cornelius Van Til, who spent 43 years of his life teaching Reformed theology at Westminster Theological Seminary, expounded upon the spiritual vacuum that exists in public schools today:
Non-Christian education puts the child in a vacuum.… The result is that the child dies.
Christian education alone really nurtures personality because it alone gives the child air and food.… Modern education philosophy [on the other hand] gruesomely insults our God and our Christ.
How, then, do you expect to build anything positively Christian of theistic upon a foundation which is the negation of Christianity and theism?
The father of Methodism, John Wesley, was equally candid:
Let it be remembered, that I do not speak to the wild, giddy, thoughtless world, but to those who fear God.
I ask, then, for what do you send your children to [public] school? Why? That they may be fit to live in the world?
In which world to you mean — this or the next?
Perhaps you thought of this world only, and had forgot that there is a world to come; yea, and one that will last forever!
Pray take this into your account, and send them to such masters as will keep it always before their eyes. Otherwise, to send them to [a government] school is little better than sending them to the devil.
In five years FreedomProject Academy, developed and nourished by The John Birch Society (the parent company of The New American), has virtually exploded in its enrollment of students exiting the secular public schools in favor of, as the website explains:
the Judeo-Christian belief system as promoted in the Constitution by our Founding Fathers, who strove to guarantee the preservation of our God-given liberties…
We expect our students to be familiar with Biblical history across the Old and New Testaments, and understand the ways that this history has impacted our culture, laws and history — from Genesis to the Ten Commandments and from the Sermon on the Mount, to the Epistles of Paul.
One of the parents frustrated with Canon City High School’s rampant sexting is Heidi Wolfgang, mother of a student there. After learning about the scandal and demanding that the administration do something about it, without success, she did the right thing: She pulled her child from the school and started educating him at home.
The sexting scandals engulfing public schools across the land provide one more reason for concerned parents to do the same. FreedomProject Academy is one attractive and growing alternative for them to consider.