High school students in New Hampshire are at risk of disciplinary action after allegedly snapping inappropriate photos of female classmates’ bodies, making them into trading cards, and giving out “grades” to the images.
A group of ninth- and 10th-grade students at Bedford High School had been photographing 11th- and 12th-grade girls without their knowledge and circulating the images without their consent, Bedford High School Principal Bob Jozokos said in an email to parents last week.
In the email, provided to the New Hampshire Union Leader by a parent, Jozokos called the behavior “upsetting” and warned that the students involved can expect a meeting with their parent at school — and possibly suspension.
“This is absolutely inappropriate behavior and not expected of our students,” Jozokos wrote.
The principal added that parents should “let your teen know that I take this sexual harassment very seriously and there is no place for it in our community.”
The students who participated in the disturbing behavior — mainly boys — created both physical and digital trading cards featuring the chests, backsides and names of upperclass girls, NBC10 Boston reported.
The group of students were printing pictures of the girls and taping them over Pokémon cards for at least a week.
“They were, like, rating them,” one student told NBC10 Boston. “From 0 to 10, and just rating them, ‘bad’ or ‘not bad.’”
The female students, however, were largely unaware of the unsettling trend until later, the student said, adding that one of his friends was featured on a trading card.
“She’s pissed. She’s not happy at all,” he said. “She was just very embarrassed.”
Antonio Bruno told WCVB that his 15-year-old daughter may have been one of the girls whose photo was shared unknowingly.
“She saw the picture and she thinks she’s one of the girls,” he said, adding that she no longer wants to go to school.
“We’re thinking about maybe we’ll move my daughter somewhere else because if she’s not safe in school, where’s she need to be safe then?” he said.
According to a WMUR report, school administrators interviewed 35 students on Friday over the incident.
A petition created by a Bedford High School senior calls for the permanent expulsion of the students involved — instead of the suspension Jozokos had threatened. As of Wednesday, over 4,300 signatures of its 5,000-signature goal had been collected.
“We are not a toy for your son to play with, nor a piece of paper that can be traded like a Pokémon card,” wrote Kristen Caldwell, the petition’s creator.
“These students deserve to be expelled. Why are issues such as these, treating women as sex objects, not being taken more seriously? These students have no place in our school, and need to be removed immediately.”
It’s not clear how many students and victims were involved in the incident.