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'My son was photographed in the school's toilet and images were dispersed.' UPDATED 3X

'My son was photographed in the school's toilet and images were dispersed.' UPDATED 3X


Nothing inspires heartbreak and rage quite like witnessing your child get mistreated.

In a popular post on the Ask A Lawyer subreddit, a parent asked for advice on how to get their son justice.

"My son was photographed in the school's toilet and images were dispersed."

My son is in the 6th grade. He was on the bus coming home from school today when some kid showed him pictures of himself in the toilet, with n*dity. It was supposedly air-dropped by an older unknown child and distributed throughout the school. I immediately called the school and spoke to the principal, who assured me they would get to the bottom of it.

I don't believe him, as I'm sure he's only going to try to protect the school. He asked me not to report it so they could handle it. Yeah, no. I called the sheriff's department and am waiting to hear from the sheriff now. I want to press charges on any kid distributing these images of my kid. What should I do now? I'm feeling helpless.

Edited to add: My community does not have a local police department. The sheriff is our only recourse.

People were quick to share their advice and support.

Miguel4659 wrote:

You talk to law enforcement and provide a statement and documentation. Typical of schools, they don't want to involve police since they think they are above the law.

OP responded:

I understand a school principal is more of a school protector than a child protector. I'm not saying anything other than I don't trust the school's motives for not wanting me to reach out to law enforcement.

TigerShark_524 wrote:

And also, the kid who did it may be facing s*xual abuse at home themselves and that needs to be investigated by CPS/DFS as well.

OP responded:

Excellent point. The one child that I know is involved has been a nasty piece of work to my kid for 2 years. It's heartbreaking because my son just wants to be friends with everyone. His mental health issues make him especially lonely as I'm sure the other kids might find him "odd."

The fact that child chooses bullying over kindness says a lot about his upbringing. Not to get overly political, but I'm in a small town in the south and that kid and his parents are very much MAGA.

elrompecabezas wrote:

You should also call your state department of child protection, which goes by different names in different states. (In New Jersey, it is DYFS.) Depending on your state law, the principal may have committed a crime by not reporting this incident. In many states, school personnel are required by law to report suspected child abuse, which this certainly is.

OP responded:

I will check into this. Thank you.

Available-Page-2738 wrote:

Keep in mind, everything on your social media will be discoverable when this gets to court. Say nothing actionable. Do not say you kid will get over this. Don't even say he's having an okay day. As Saul Goodman would say, "Lawyer up."

OP responded:

What kind of lawyer do I need?

Available-Page-2738 responded:

I'm not qualified to give the best answer. But what happened to your son? Probably personal injury lawyers. But I would recommend that you contact your state/metro region's legal aid society.

OP responded:

Yes personal injury lawyer seems the best route to go.

J4QQ wrote:

Lawyer here. Please hire a lawyer if you can. This is the kind of case I would love to take on, and I'm sure there are lawyers near you who feel the same way.

Your lawyer should probably:

Contact the principal and set up a meeting to find out exactly what action is being taken.

Find out what kids are involved and contact their parents. This includes mentioning that they are arguably distributing child porn*graphy, which could get them on the sex offenders list, and that parents can be found liable for their kids' actions. Give everyone one week at most to provide a detailed summary of what actions have been taken to rectify the problem.

If anyone involved hesitates to meet these demands, file an immediate lawsuit against all of them seeking millions in damages, including punitive damages if applicable under local laws. At the very least, this will force them to hire lawyers, which is expensive to the point of causing bankruptcy for many people. If that doesn't motivate them to take their kids' phones, then nothing will.

Best of luck to you and your family. If you need help finding a qualified attorney near you, reach out to the local bar association or legal aid.

The next day, OP jumped on with an update.

Hello all, I've got an update and it's a mixed bag. Here goes: The school resource officer just called me. He brought the b*lly and his dad in. He found the images on the b*lly's phone. The good news? There was no actual nudity as my son had his hands in his lap, covering himself. I call that a win. They believe they know who took the images, so the investigation is ongoing.

The bad news is nothing will be done. The kid admitted he's been bullying my child for two years because my kid is "weird." There are 3 separate images of my son in the stall, 2 taken from above, and one from below. The kid had the images on his phone. He admitted to showing them around. I'm glad it's not CP, but this still can't be okay, can it? The SRO said the dad was really mad.

The dad has known about the b*llying because my son has spoken to him in the past. The dad was very much of the idea of them leaving each other alone, which works great on paper until his idiotic son decides it's a good idea to show these pics to everyone he can.

Where, if anywhere, do we go from here? I'm considering a restraining order, but not sure if that can be done between children. Is this still considered cyberb*llying or just good old-fashioned b*llying?

The internet had a lot to say in response.

Lieutenant_Horn wrote:

Not a lawyer - At this point I’m wondering if the threat of a lawsuit could get this b*lly expelled, especially if there is any proof that the school knew about the b*llying and took no action.

FunnyImportant7653 wrote:

My thoughts exactly.

MegaHashes wrote:

Your son probably knows who’s taking the pictures. Ask him if that kid is still in school. Guaranteed he’ll know if his bully is at school or not.

Soon after posting, OP jumped on with two new updates.

NEW UPDATE: So I've since spoken to the principal and the school's SRO. They ended up finding out who the photographer was. They had brought a lot of children into the office, with their parents. A lot of tears were shed, and a lot of furious parents. While he couldn't give me any details, he did make the statement that some of these kids would be returning to school, and some would not be.

So it would appear that there were multiple suspensions and perhaps a few expulsions. When I asked the SRO if the photographer was arrested, he said it didn't meet the guidelines to be considered cyberbullying and that somehow it wasn't enough for an arrest. I don't know how that's possible. I've been making myself busy, reaching out to my state's Attorney General's Office.

I'm still waiting to hear back from multiple lawyers (and I may not have a case, so I may be waiting forever), I've filed complaints with the school board and penned a rather long email to my state's ACLU. If there's more advice out there, I'm thrilled to hear it! You guys hear it here first. No repercussions or any reasonable repercussions.

NEWEST UPDATE: I've called so many people and have raised so much hell, I'm gaining some traction. I spoke to the sheriff's office again and I'm happy to report that they are taking my scary self seriously. They are charging the photographer. The charge is a small one-basically a peeping tom with a recording device.

The sergeant wanted tougher charges, but his supervisor wanted a charge that would stick. However it doesn't address the whole distribution part, does it? Also, I made a post on Nextdoor, and my small community is enraged about this, and a few have taken to calling the school. Interestingly enough, another parent of a child at his school, had the same thing happen to her son.

She was assured by the principal that they had things under control, she was saddened to see nothing changed. So there's a known pattern of this. Shows negligence? A local news station has reached out to me and wants to investigate the issue and do an interview with me. I can only hope a local lawyer will see it and reach out. I need a lawyer, like yesterday.

The internet was deeply invested in the updates.

Huge_Prompt_2056 wrote:

Why is the kid who took the pix not suspended for a good long time?

OP responded:

I think he likely was. They have been at it from 7:30 AM until 11:30 AM, calling in parents and wiping the phones. The principal couldn't tell me a lot, other than some kids will be returning to school, while others won't be. And they found the creep that was taking the photos.

Penelope742 wrote:

Does your school district have an ombudsman? This is unacceptable. I am so sorry. Is your son a part of any protected group? There may be advocacy groups that would help you. When my son was in a similar situation writing letters/emails, keeping a paper trail, and noting each incident was helpful. We also involved a therapist and psychiatrist. Good luck.

OP responded:

My son is disabled and has an IEP.

TooManyPaws wrote:

When my kid was b*llied and the school refused to take it seriously, we got a restraining order. I walked a copy into the principal. He was not happy, because now the enforcement was out of his hands.

And three times, the PD came to campus to take reports of violations, and each time I sent the reports to the school board, reminding them it all could have been avoided if the principal had only enforced their own policies instead of putting the onus on my kid to figure out how to deal with it.

AdmiralTodd509 wrote:

As this picture has already been sent, you need to make sure that the image is not available on the web. Make the school pay for a service company to scan for the image and remove it from all sites.

Hopefully, OP's son is safe at school moving forward.

Sources: Reddit
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