- Park Lakes Elementary
BCPS Partners with the Broward Sheriff’s Office to Warn Teens About Sextortion
Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) is partnering with the Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO) in warning teens that they’re the target of an internet scam called Sextortion.
Sextortion happens when a teen communicates through social media or gaming app with someone pretending to have a romantic interest in him/her. The criminal’s goal is to establish a relationship with the teen and obtain sexually suggestive photos to later blackmail the teen for more explicit content or money. If the demands are not met, the criminal threatens to share the images publicly.
To help educate students and families about this crime, BCPS Superintendent Dr. Peter B. Licata and Sheriff Gregory Tony will hold a press conference on Friday, December 8, at 10 a.m., at Lauderhill 6 – 12, located at 1901 N.W. 49 Ave., Lauderhill.
BCPS and BSO collaborated in creating an awareness campaign, which includes a poster with a QR code that students can scan to get information about sextortion: what it is, how it happens, what to do if victimized and how to preserve information that will be useful to law enforcement. BCPS is placing posters in bathrooms at middle and high schools across the District.
“It is sickening that unscrupulous people are targeting our children for financial gain,” Superintendent Licata said. “Education is the key to safeguarding our children and through this partnership we are raising awareness and equipping our students with everything they need to know if they fall victim to this crime.”
“The Broward Sheriff’s Office is committed to informing young people, their parents, school officials and community stakeholders about the ruthless individuals trying to prey on them and the dangers that lurk online,” Sheriff Tony said. “Partnering with Broward County Public Schools will enable us to widely spread the message about this despicable crime. I hope it also encourages victims to safely share their experiences with law enforcement in hopes of arresting the sick individuals who seek to blackmail children and rob them of their safety and security.”
BSO, which is the host agency for the South Florida Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, receives approximately five reports of potential sextortion cases from local victims per week. Investigators believe many more cases go unreported as victims are often reluctant to come forward due to the embarrassment of having been tricked. According to the ICAC Task Force, since early 2022, more than 18 teens across the U.S. have turned to self-harm after feeling overwhelmed by the shame of being exposed.
Help is available. In addition to contacting law enforcement to report the crime, BCPS has counselors at every school available to assist. For resources and information about sextortion, visit sextortion.southfloridaicac.com.
ABOUT BROWARD COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS
“Educating all students to reach their highest potential.”
Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) is the sixth-largest school district in the nation and the second largest in the state of Florida. BCPS is Florida’s first fully accredited school system since 1962, serving more than 251,000 students and approximately 110,000 adult learners in 239 schools, centers and technical colleges, and 87 charter schools. BCPS supports a diverse student population representing 177 different countries and speaking 153 languages. To connect with BCPS, visit browardschools.com, follow us on Twitter @browardschools, on Facebook at facebook.com/browardschools, on Instagram @browardschoolsofficial, on YouTube at youtube.com/browardschoolsvideos and download the free BCPS mobile app at browardschools.com/MobileApp.