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Authorities seize school-issued iPads in Columbia

Columbia Public Schools officials administrators said the district is erring on the conservative side when it comes to regulating student iPads.

The announcement comes after authorities seized school-issued iPads, in part, because of inappropriate sexual content.

ABC 17 News investigated the issue in April for an ABC 17 News special report.

Some students use the iPads to send sexually charged texts and pictures.

Since that report aired, CPS has instituted a new filtering system.

School officials said they’re always tweaking school cyber security but said its international protections are working.

Columbia Public School administrators said authorities have taken 30 school-issued iPads for analysis.

Three of them have since been given back to CPS.

Both Columbia Police and the Boone County cyber crimes task force are investigating.

“With the task force we have a forensic lab here and then we would analyze for additional evidence to help support the charges,” said Detective Tracy Perkins with the Boone County Cyber Crimes Task Force.

Around 12,000 iPads go out to CPS students and they are required to sign a technology usage agreement, indicating that all of their usage is monitored while on school grounds, which is enforced by teachers among other administrators.

However, similar to many school districts, CPS has issues with students using the tablets for sexual charged texting.

“They are also in a situation where they’re sending inappropriate sexually graphic pictures of themselves. In every situation it’s a little bit different,” said Perkins.

CPS said internet security is enhanced on a daily basis.

CPS blocks all social media sites through its web filter, and websites based on key words and categories.

“We’re talking about intervention and get the behavior stopped, because if we don’t, it will continue.”

It is considered distribution of child pornography for underage students to send naked pictures. Officials said in most cases the children would not be charged, authorities would send the students to the juvenile office and call their parents.

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