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With a few angry finger jabs to her home screen she shut off her phone, shoved it into her backpack, and looked out the car window. She later told me what my heart already suspected. The other details followed. Not only did she not know the classmate very well, he asked the question so casually it made her feel invisible, almost worthless. She smirked, wiped her eyes, and showed me her phone as if it were a badge of honor.
But later, when scrolling through their best angles, each person noticed something quite terrifying…. Just your average teenage selfie, right? But then she noticed something frightening: there appeared to be a boy in the backseat — nobody else but her mother driving was in the car that day. This is just a normal photo of a young girl at a picnic table.
Then she sent the full-length frontal photo to Isaiah, her new boyfriend. They broke up soon after. In less than 24 hours, the effect was as if Margarite, 14, had sauntered naked down the hallways of the four middle schools in this racially and economically diverse suburb of the state capital, Olympia. Hundreds, possibly thousands, of students had received her photo and forwarded it. In short order, students would be handcuffed and humiliated, parents mortified and lessons learned at a harsh cost. Only then would the community try to turn the fiasco into an opportunity to educate. But adults face a hard truth.