Talking to teens about sexting; Centerville High School taking proactive approach

CENTERVILLE, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) -- At Centerville high school, teachers and counselors are taking a proactive but aggressive approach when it comes to talking to teens about bullying and sexting.

"I don't know who's sitting here and maybe going through this right now," said teacher Janet Place, "it's just a very delicate situation."

Place teaches computer applications and says she uses the class as a way to educate teens about cyber bullying and how sexting plays a role.

"Our focus is more about empowering them, positive apps and things they can do in a positive way," Place said. She also said One of the biggest topics is sending pictures electronically, when it becomes a bullying and felony charges in Ohio.

"It's a felony it's illegal at your age," she said she tell students hoping to give them the facts.

"The unfortunate reality is if you're in love and you were 16, and you send a picture, you've committed a crime," Place continued, "anyone that forwards it and comments on it, does anything in relation to it, that's bullying."

"We have to watch as adults how are speaking to other people," said intervention counselor Beth Miers in Centerville.

Miers said she hopes to empower parents to stop cyber bullying by getting specifics from their kids, because bullying can happen on many different apps and social media platforms.

"Thinking about what that little girl must've gone through daily when she would walk into a building, and into an environment that wasn't welcoming and wasn't safe to her," Miers said expressing remorse over the recent suicide of Bethany Thompson. Thompson reportedly committed suicide after being bullied in Champaign County. She was a brain cancer survivor and 11 years old.

"It's tough but I think you have to stay on top of it," said Place.

Teachers also said a good tip for parents to use with kids is to do a "gut check," reminding your kids to ask themselves before they share or post if what they are doing would hurt someone more than help.

Bullying policies at schools across the Miami Valley

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