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Two minors charged in Shen social media incidents

Two minors charged in Shen social media incidents

Two minors charged in Shen social media incidents
Photographer: Gazette file photo

CLIFTON PARK — Two minors have been charged in connection with two separate incidents last week at Shenendehowa High School in which photos and videos that contained troubling content were circulated on social media, according to the Saratoga County Sheriff's Office.

In one incident, on Nov. 20, according to deputies, a 14-year-old girl took pictures of another partially clad 14-year-old girl in a high school locker room and disseminated the pictures on social media.

"She is alleged to have done so for the purpose of her and other persons' amusement and entertainment," said a press release from the sheriff's office.

She was charged on Nov. 22 with second degree unlawful surveillance, a felony, and was released to her parents, to await further action at family court, according to deputies.

In an unrelated incident, a student in a video can be seen physically assaulting another student in a classroom. In the video, a student comes up from behind another student sitting at a desk; then the first student lifts up the desk and throws the second student to the ground and begins to swing and kick at him until an adult and other students break it up.

According to the sheriff's office, that incident occurred on Nov. 18. After an investigation, the male was arrested and charged with third-degree assault, a misdemeanor. He is also awaiting further action at family court, according to deputies.

The incidents prompted a letter home to district parents from Shen on Thursday.

“Shenendehowa has been dealing with two issues at the high school that are extremely troubling with regard to student behavior,” district officials wrote. “We are pleading with parents for your help,” the district wrote in its Thursday note to parents.

“Please talk with your children about the serious consequences that can occur when they make decisions or take actions that are harmful, hurtful and violate the rights of others. While it is commonplace for people to use various social media platforms, it must be emphasized that posting such things can violate so many laws and is just plain wrong.”

While the school district would not comment on disciplinary actions taken, Kelly DeFeciani, district spokesperson, said that responsible social media use by students is something the district takes seriously, and is in fact integrated into various classroom curricula. While the district is not planning any sort of event specifically to address last week's issue at this time, she noted that all throughout the year Shen hosts community conversations that touch on a wide range of topics, from student mental health to drug use in the halls.

"We address the issue constantly. It's not really a one-and-done," DeFeciani said on Monday. "It's just integrated all of the time."

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