O'Reilly on teenagers' topless photo scandal: "[T]his isn't ... the inner city; you would think that these kids would have some kind of a values system"

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While discussing ninth-grade students at a school in New Jersey who were suspended for distributing topless photographs of their classmates, Bill O'Reilly stated, "But it's an amazing amount of kids involved with this -- 20 -- in an affluent school district. This isn't, you know, the inner city; you would think that these kids would have some kind of a values system."

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During the June 10 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, purporting to document "more evidence of values problem among American young people," host Bill O'Reilly reported that seven ninth-graders at Pascack Valley High School in New Jersey have been suspended for distributing topless photographs of their classmates. O'Reilly asked Bergen Record reporter Leslie Brody, "Do you think 13- and 14-year-olds or 15-year-olds are smart enough to understand they put themselves at risk when they do this kind of behavior? The girls that you talked to, do they have any idea or are they just stone cold dumb?" Brody told O'Reilly that "some of these girls were 11, so they could be, perhaps, understood as being a little more innocent or thoughtless." She added: "Some kids, perhaps, are looking for attention. Some see Lindsay Lohan doing this kind of thing and want to do it themselves. Some are impulsive." O'Reilly then stated: "But it's an amazing amount of kids involved with this -- 20 -- in an affluent school district. This isn't, you know, the inner city; you would think that these kids would have some kind of a values system." O'Reilly continued: "It's not that it's so horrendous. You know, it's not murder or rape. But it's so stupid."

O'Reilly later stated, "[W]hat I think this is is lack of a values education. In public school they don't have -- teach values anymore, civics or any of that. You can't tell the kids what's right and wrong. You get in trouble. And if kids at home don't have parents who set boundaries, and many of them don't, then it's inevitable that some of them will do this. I still think that they're incredibly dumb."

From the June 10 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:

O'REILLY: "Unresolved Problem" segment tonight, more evidence of values problem among American young people. At the Pascack Valley High School in northern New Jersey, seven ninth-graders, 14- and 15-year-olds, have been suspended for distributing topless photos of their classmates. As many as 20 young girls appeared that way. No charges have been filed, but the community is shocked.

And with us now is Inger Kruegle, the mother of two girls attending the school -- they were not involved -- and Leslie Brody, a reporter for the Bergen Record who broke the story yesterday. Leslie, we'll begin with you.

See, what I don't understand is how girls this young could be persuaded to put themselves at risk by posing in this way for a cell phone camera. What was the persuadability factor there?

BRODY: Well, there are different ways that children got onto these photos. In one case, a boy asked several girls to be part of his photo gallery, kind of a collage he was putting together. Another instance a girl sent it to her boyfriend thinking it was just for him, perhaps, and then they broke up and then he sent it around to his friends.

But this is a common occurrence these days. Boys send photos of themselves to girls as well. Sometimes the photos are meant to stop at the recipient. Sometimes they are intended for distribution.

O'REILLY: Do you think 13- and 14-year-olds or 15-year-olds are smart enough to understand they put themselves at risk when they do this kind of behavior? The girls that you talked to, do they have any idea or are they just stone cold dumb?

BRODY: Well, bear in mind some of these pictures were taken two or three years ago and they surfaced now. But some of these girls were 11, so they could be, perhaps, understood as being a little more innocent or thoughtless. Some kids, perhaps, are looking for attention. Some see Lindsay Lohan doing this kind of thing and want to do it themselves. Some are impulsive.

O'REILLY: But it's an amazing amount of kids involved with this -- 20 -- in an affluent school district. This isn't, you know, the inner city; you would think that these kids would have some kind of a values system. It's not that it's so horrendous. You know, it's not murder or rape. But it's so stupid.

BRODY: True. But it's very common as well and the adults --

O'REILLY: Do you think it's very common across the country?

BRODY: I talked to police today who say it's quite common. It's been a big issue at their juvenile officer conferences. It's been reported in Utah, Connecticut, Texas, New York, previously in New Jersey. I believe --

O'REILLY: So it's all -- and kids as young as 11 are doing it?

BRODY: Yeah, because cell phones are so everywhere --

O'REILLY: Oh, I know that. The technology makes it very easy to do it. Now Inga, what I think this is is lack of a values education. In public school they don't have -- teach values anymore, civics or any of that. You can't tell the kids what's right and wrong. You get in trouble. And if kids at home don't have parents who set boundaries, and many of them don't, then it's inevitable that some of them will do this. I still think that they're incredibly dumb.

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