As school officials in Bedford, N.H., investigate allegations that some boys took photos of girls without their knowledge and may have used the images to make trading cards, an online petition is calling for those responsible to be expelled.
In a message to parents on Friday, Bedford High School principal Robert Jozokos said school officials were working to determine whether ninth- and 10th-grade students had photographed 11th- and 12th-grade girls, made trading cards with the images, and assigned “grades” to them.
“There are some things we are still trying to find out,” Jozokos wrote. “We have not been able to find any physical trading cards although several students mentioned hearing about them. We have not seen any pictures taken inside of the school although several students also mentioned that happening. We have not seen any images with student names or grades on them.”
Jozokos said he and three other administrators spent Friday interviewing approximately 35 students from all grades.
“Some came to us on their own and others we followed up with after learning that they might have additional information. In the late afternoon, a student shared two pictures that were collages of girls. All the girls are clothed (bathing suits, or shorts and tops). None of the pictures are from inside the school or on campus,” Jozokos wrote. “Those collages and individual pictures had been shared on Snapchat through stickers (a Snapchat feature that cuts out parts of an image). As of right now, we know two students received images and student reports point to three to five students sharing them.”
The parents of the girls who could be identified were contacted, and “as we identify other girls, their parents will be contacted too,” Jozokos wrote.
School officials have kept police apprised on the status of the investigation, he said.
“This is an ongoing investigation, and we don’t know everything yet,” Jozokos wrote. “It is possible that some of you have more information than I do. If you can share what you know, that will be helpful. Please email me or the assistant principals.”
Jozokos said that students are “very upset” by the allegations and have been cooperative with school officials. One student created a Change.org petition called “Expel Boys Responsible For Explicit Trading Card Production,” which as of Monday afternoon had garnered more than 2,900 signatures.
“These shameful young boys are treating their fellow peers as sex objects,” the petition states. “How would you feel if your daughters privacy was invaded without her knowledge? How would you feel if you found a trading card, containing your daughters sexual body parts, name, and a rating on her looks, and were informed it was made by a group of her peers in a place where she is supposed to feel safe and protected?”
Superintendent Michael Fournier declined to say what disciplinary actions might be taken against the students involved, saying all minor students are protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, known as FERPA.
“Upon completion of any investigation, disciplinary action is shared only with the student and their parents.” he said by email on Monday.