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SADD instructs on improper cell phone usage

An important cell phone issue to teens is something called sexting- the sending of sexually explicit text messages to others or sending naked or partially undressed photos of oneself to peers. This portion was written, researched and presented by Joanna Lilly of Poultney High School and Erika Stocker of Mill River; they discovered that as many as 40 percent of teen girls may be involved. They also found out that in about 1 out of 6 cases, after a breakup, usually one initiated by the girl, the former boyfriend widely distributes the photos. Cody Hesse of Otter Valley Union High School investigated the use of cell phones while driving, a topic which is being looked at by state legislatures everywhere in the country. Cody found research that stated that the practice of driving while texting is so dangerous that it is statistically more dangerous than driving while drunk.

Cantlin Eaton, a junior from Mill River, addressed the issues of using one's cell phones in an emergency situation. While sometimes cell phones could be useful in avoiding a disaster, they can jam up the airwaves, so that emergency responders can not use theirs. Additionally, a new problem that is starting to become known is the use of cell phone cameras to take photos of accident victims or fire scenes, which are then bulk forwarded. Besides being a gross violation of the victim's privacy, this sets in motion the possibility that someone will be notified of their loved one's death by getting a grisly photo forwarded to them.

The last issue that was dealt with was that of bullying by cell phone, which was researched by Ashley Barnes, a junior from Rutland High School. This problem has many different aspects- from just sending hurtful messages, to starting rumors (in one case a middle school girl was rumored to be carrying SARS; the school population avoided her), to taking unflattering photos of other students without their knowledge in the bathroom or shower. This behavior not only is detrimental to the school, it is also illegal.

Following the Stafford Technical Center Student of the Marking Period Assembly, the group was asked to do a presentation to the West Rutland High School, which they did as members of Students Against Destructive Decisions. The SADD members also presented this program to about 350 7th and 8th graders and their teachers in two presentations at Rutland Middle School.

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