There’s been a recent crackdown on cell phones at Radford High School following an incident in the girl’s locker room.
Last month, school officials launched an investigation after reports that a cheerleader took inappropriate pictures of students in the locker room, then shared the pictures using a popular photo-messaging application called Snapchat.
Snapchat is popular because the pictures and video viewed via Snapchat can quickly disappear, which users believe would do away with any evidence of its misuse.
Snapchat has been around for only a couple of years, but it has caught the imagination of users who can share with others moments caught in pictures or on video – moments that disappear after just a few seconds after they are seen on computers and other devices via social media.
Last month at Radford High School, a cheerleader was caught using Snapchat to capture moments that triggered an investigation on campus.
“The school did conduct an investigation, did speak with the student, reprimanded the student, and now there is also a ban on mobile devices in locker rooms, smart phones, cell phones,” said Donalyn Dela Cruz, spokesperson for the Hawaii State Department of Education.
But that ban in locker rooms is only in place at Radford High School. The department says a principal is empowered to make his or her own decision when it comes to any ban on campus.
While pictures or video distributed via Snapchat can quickly disappear, nothing in cyberspace ever goes away forever, according to Chris Duque, a cyber-security expert who investigates computer and Internet crimes.
“There’s a possibility, a high possibility, to do digital forensics on the device to recover artifacts which may be text, video, graphic files of what was exchanged between the devices,” said Duque.
Dela Cruz says Snapchat falls under Chapter 19 “because it’s inappropriate behavior.”
Chapter 19 is the DOE’s policy governing student misconduct and there is specific reference to cyber-bullying as an offense.
But the department is also taking a harder look on how to deal with the ever-changing world of social media and applications like Snapchat.
“Leadership will be taking a closer look at how to move forward. It’s just very difficult for us to keep an eye on these things going on,” said Dela Cruz.
Even she admitted that she never heard of Snapchat until our inquiry into the Radford incident.