Nixa police will look for child porn on students' phones

NIXA, Mo. - Nixa Police detectives are investigating whether students at Nixa Junior High shared inappropriate photographs with each other on their cell phones. Someone reported to police that students may be passing around images that are child pornography.

"Based on probable cause, the Nixa Police Department has seized a few dozen phones belonging to Junior High students. Those phones have not yet been searched. Proper protocol and procedure will be followed carefully throughout this investigation," the police department said in a news release.

As police continue to investigate, many parents say they're sticking to their protocol in protecting their kids from potentially dangerous behavior.

"We'll go through text messages, we'll look at things like Snapchat or whatever social media that they're on," Mom-of-Three Kimberly Thatcher said.

"We do not allow our kids to have cell phones just to protect them and their safety," Mom-of-Two Melody Johnson said.

A Nixa police investigator is trained in handling child pornography cases and the department has the necessary equipment to search the data in the phones.

"At this time, we do not have a sense of the nature of the potentially inappropriate photographs which may have been shared, how many inappropriate photographs may have been shared, how they may have been shared, or the scope of how many students may have been depicted," the news release says.

The Nixa School District says it is cooperating with the investigation and can't make any other comment.

According to a City of Nixa spokesperson, Nixa Police are still in the process of determining which, if any, phones they may need to get a warrant for prior to searching for content.

"In some circumstances, a warrant may not be needed if we have parent/guardian consent. It may be Monday at the earliest before Nixa Police are able to obtain warrants to begin to search any phones for which we will need a warrant," the spokesperson said.