Police in a northern New Jersey school district are investigating whether some high school students may have shared images of real or pretend sexual acts or photos of nude classmates.
Ridgewood School Superintendent Daniel Fishbein has sent a notice to parents and students that students have until Monday to delete any such photos that they may have.
Fishbein says it is illegal to create, transmit or have child pornography. He said police are investigating an alleged photo-sharing incident that happened outside of school, but has been "a disruption."
"This matter is a serious issue that demands a prompt and appropriate response," Fishbein wrote in the letter, which went out to students in grades 6-12 as well, as their parents.
One student at Ridgewood told NBC 4 New York Thursday that the practice is "very common," particularly among underclassmen.
Another student said those who share such photos "are just dumb."
The school board is asking parents to talk to their children and delete such photos from phones and other electronic devices.
The school superintendent says the police department announced an amnesty period in effect until 7 a.m. Monday to allow parents time to have those conversations with their children and students time to delete their photos.
After the amnesty period ends, Fishbein said students found with nude photos or explicit images of themselves could face serious charges of creation, possession and transmission of child pornography.
"Often, students participate in the sharing of provocative images of themselves and others without realizing the potential consequences," Fishbein wrote.
Fishbein said he would always take appropriate action to protect the safety and well-being of the students in his district, and said he would work with school staff to create an ongoing conversation and awareness about the issue.