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Middle Schoolers Suspended for Watching Porn in Class

Parents who worry about what their children might be accessing on their cell phones will shudder when they hear about nine male middle school students who were suspended last month for watching pornography on their phones during an English class.

NBC San Diego is reporting that the 7th graders were suspended from Bell Middle School after classmates reported them for not only watching porn in class, but for allegedly masturbating while doing so.

Meanwhile, the teacher, Ed Johnson, allegedly sat reading at his desk and did not respond to the students who told him what was going on even while it was happening.

The school's vice principal Kathleen Gallagher told U-T San Diego News that school officials reviewed testimonials written by 22 students who witnessed the event in class. Several of these students claimed that they raised their hands to report the behavior but the teacher ignored them.

Regardless of what the teacher did or did not do, Gallagher said the students involved in watching the pornography were being held accountable for their actions and were subsequently suspended.

Dick Thornburgh, a former U.S. attorney general, and author of a 2002 study on how to protect youth from Internet pornography, told the Associated Press that the case illustrates a growing problem.

"It's so easy to conceal," he said. "The images are perishable, so if a teacher is concerned about someone using a cell phone to look at pornographic images, all you've got to do is press a button and it's gone. So it poses all kind of challenges."

Thornburgh said researchers found the best solution is relying on parents, teachers, community leaders and others to teach children what is appropriate and what's not.

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