Criminal charges could be laid after several Napanee high school students allegedly swapped nude photos of teenage girls.

The Limestone District School Board said about 15 Napanee District Secondary School students, both boys and girls, were suspended. Ontario Provincial Police officers have interviewed students at the school.

Neither police nor the school would confirm the nature of the inappropriate images but Napanee students described what they saw to CBC.

"There's some nudes being sent around between different ages and grades," a Grade 11 student said. "It's pretty hard core. There's been some fruit used and some very inappropriate gestures."

The allegations were made last week, but students said the exchange of images has been going on for a long time.

"Everybody is doing it," a student told CBC.

An expert on cyberbullying said that if teens won't stop sexting, they should at least use precautions.

"One thing we like to say is, you can cut your head out of the picture. That's one way to try to prevent your identity from being matched to that photo and being spread around," said Rena Bivens, a sociologist at Carleton University.

The school notified parents in a recorded voicemail that it plans to discuss cyber safety, and issues of respect and dignity. 

Students will be offered counselling

The person in charge of the Safe and Caring Schools Program at the school board said all students involved will need counselling.      

"Students who made bad choices on either side of this issue, they are going to need support and there's going to be the need for healing through all of this," said Krishna Burra.

Burra said he was not shocked but saddened by the incident.

"I'm not shocked or surprised. Unfortunately, this type of phenomenon is too common among some of our young people. The ripple effect in a small community of 10 to 15,000 people is really significant. This is the one secondary school in the community," he said.

There are 1,200 students at the school.