ROCKAWAY TOWNSHIP, NJ (Morris County) – Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Supervising Assistant Prosecutor Samantha DeNegri, Sergeant Patrick LaGuerre, and New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety, Division of Criminal Justice Detective Kierren Robinson on Thursday visited the students of Copeland Middle School in Rockaway Township, and lead a presentation on cyberbullying, bias issues and making smart choices about social media.
Presenters stressed the importance of exercising good judgement when it comes to how you interact with others or what you post online, especially when it comes to posting or sharing photos or videos. SAP DeNegri noted how social media and technology documents everything, and that even photos and messages you believe are deleted or only temporary can be accessed after being deleted, especially through subpoenas during investigations. Sgt. LaGuerre recalled scholarships and college acceptances have been revoked due to recipients having posted regrettable material shared on social media.
MCPO presenters explained to the students the difference between bias crimes and bias incidents, walking students through the reporting and investigation process. They explained schools can take disciplinary action even if a case isn’t considered criminal.
They reviewed the potential legal ramifications of bias, using social media and messaging apps to harass people, and sexting. Cyber harassment and sharing explicit images can carry strict penalties in New Jersey.
Detective Robinson spoke about how you conduct yourself on social media or the actions you take today could potentially impact a person’s future.
Students watching via virtual classroom were able to ask questions of the presenters during the program.
The MCPO routinely visits schools throughout Morris County to present on these important topics, and to talk directly with students. Last week, Sgt. LaGuerre and SAP DeNegri visited Byram Lakes Intermediate School.
“Our youth live in a highly connected, digital world. It is the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office’s goal to enable our students to make smart choices about how they interact online and in school. There are potential negative impacts to engaging in cyberbullying and bias behavior. We reinforce smart decision-making, and are frank with the students about the potential consequences for themselves and others,” Prosecutor Robert J. Carroll said.