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Deputies warn against sexting, bullying

January 16, 2012

The Morning News — Leslie Mielke Burkam Burnett, a deputy with the Bingham County Sheriff's office, addressed Firth High School and Middle School students about bullying and sexting Monday morning. Deputy Jeff Boyd was the second person on this team. Both Burnett and Boyd graduated from Firth High School.

FIRTH — Two Firth High School graduates who are now Bingham County deputy sheriffs addressed bullying and sexting at a school assembly on Monday. They addressed students from the high school, the middle school and about 30 parents.
The intent of this assembly was to educate students, said Bingham County Sheriff's Deputy Burkam Burnett.
Addressing the students, Burnett said, "Parents are responsible for you until you are 18 years old. Before you do something, think, 'would I do this in front of my parents?'
Whatever you do must be reported to your parents, he said.
Burnett then went on the explain the difference between an infraction where a fine is assessed, a misdemeanor that could entail a year in the county jail and a fine and a felony where a person could end up in prison with a fine.
Student harassment is any act of harassment, intimidation or bullying against another student, Burnett said. Legislators have set rules in the Idaho code because they want students to succeed in their learning. Learning will impact each student's future.
In addressing pornography, Burnett said, child pornography can be created by people under 18. Creating and disseminating pornography is a felony.
For example, the juvenile who takes a topless photo of herself, and then texts this photo to others can be charged with two felonies—creating child pornography and disseminating pornography.
The person who receives this material can be charged with only one felony—receiving pornographic material.
Addressing the students, Burnett said, should you receive a nude photo, get rid of it. If you want to keep it as evidence, contact a trusted adult or local law enforcement.
If you participate in video voyeurism, if convicted, you can be placed on a sex offender list, even as a juvenile.
"Your picture and your address will be put on a sex offender list," Burnett said. "Should you move, a new picture of you and your address is put on a different sex offender list.
"In Bingham County, there are 91 registered sex offenders and seven registered juvenile sex offenders," said Burnett.
Computer bullying on any social site can and will be given to the police by the social site, he said.
These charges can affect your future employment since employers can access this information.
"As Patrol Capt. Robert Sobieski from the Bingham County Sheriff's Office said, 'Whatever you put on the internet is there forever.'"
"Communicate with your parents," Burnett said. Parents are responsible to provide their children food, clothing and water.
"A cell phone or Facebook is a privilege, not a right. We encourage parenting," said Burnett.
Speaking of computer crimes, Burnett said, "If computers are altered, damaged or destroyed, it is a felony. If computers are altered for any reason—getting around a filter on a school computer, for example—that is a felony."
Joining Burnett at the assemby was deputy Jeff Boyd.
"We want to educate kids," said Firth High School Principal Jeff Gee. "We want students to understand how serious it is; that it can ruin lives.
"We want parents to be informed; to make sure they know," he said.
A evening meeting for parents will be scheduled during a parent-teacher conference at a later date, said Gee.

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