State police have confiscated two computer hard drives from the Griswold Middle School after the parent of a 12-year-old student found a picture of a man's erect penis in her daughter's back pack.

Her daughter, a high honors student who has not been in trouble before, printed the black and white picture out on the printer in the middle school library after a man she had been instant messaging on the school computers sent it to her, along with his home phone number.

"We were completely shocked," the mother said. "Parents assume, I assumed, that the Internet at school was blocked from harmful material. That isn't the case."

After the mother contacted the school, school officials were able to pinpoint the exact time the picture was printed and confirm that the incident happened at school. They also called state police who are investigating the case.

Police have confiscated two of the school's computer hard drives. The remaining computers have been blocked from accessing common instant messaging services.

Principal Preston Shaw sent a letter home to parents Tuesday urging parents to monitor their children's Internet use.

"A small number of students registered themselves on an instant messaging service and were able to connect to it at school," the letter said. "The service exposed the students to at least one unscrupulous individual." According to the seventh-grade girl who printed the picture, she and many of her friends have been using instant messaging at school to have sexually explicit chats with strangers since January. It is a trend, she said, among some of the popular students and those who would emulate them to gather around a computer while one person chats and the others look on. A child engaged in an explicit conversation gets positive attention.

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