Mom finds school district can do little after daughter exposed in classmate's 'selfie'

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by CARLA WADE

Bio | Email | Follow: @CarlaNWade

WFAA

Posted on June 6, 2013 at 5:44 PM

Updated Friday, Jun 14 at 4:59 PM

DeSOTO -- It's something teenagers do all the time. They take cell-phone self portraits, anywhere and everywhere, including places that should be private -- like the locker room.

So what happens when someone besides yourself ends up in your "selfie?" It’s a question a DeSoto mother and her eighth-grade daughter are asking.

A soft-spoken young lady, Alise Jefferson-Townsend is not the kind of girl who likes to draw attention to herself. So when she saw a photo where she can be seen undressing in the background, she was horrified. She says the picture was taken in the girls' locker room at Byrd Middle School, and then posted on Facebook.

"Yeah, I was embarrassed, because I have a lot of friends and guy friends that get on Facebook a lot, and I didn't want them to see me like that," Alise said.

She told her mother, who went to the Duncanville Independent School District school administrators. Alise’s mother was shocked to learn there wasn't a lot the district could do about it.

“This is a picture that was taken in the girls' locker room," said mom Leslie Jefferson. "And there's a picture on [Facebook] that's very upsetting - that I would like removed - and he said there was nothing they could do."

Tammy Kuykendall, Chief Communications Officer for Duncanville ISD, said it did take appropriate action against the student for taking a cell phone picture in the locker room, because it violates the district’s technology-use policy.

Kuykendall said the best school administrators could do after that was ask the student and her parents remove the picture, but they couldn’t force the girl to remove it.

A Dallas attorney said if the picture wasn’t posted to bully or harass Alise, it's harder to determine what further action can be taken and if it would do any good.

"Whether it's a school district code or the penal code, intent matters,” Greg McAllister said. “Intent matters when we are talking about people's privacy."

E-mail cwade@wfaa.com

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