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On one of these days she wore a tutu and patterned tights.

Of course, Miranda worried that this flamboyance would exacerbate the bullying.

"I wasn't trying to be sexual," she says, "I was having fun with my friends at a sleepover, taking pictures, dancing to music." The picture recently surfaced on a student's cell phone and Marissa's mom, Mary Jo Miller, was contacted by Skumanick.

"He told me that he had a full nude photo of my daughter," says Mary Jo Miller, who calls the picture innocent.

By the time Lewis was ten, his effeminate traits — reading quietly indoors rather than engaging in rough-and-tumble with other boys; watching American soaps such as Hannah Montana — were so pronounced that Miranda and her then-husband David wondered if he might be gay.

By the age of 12, Ashlyn had taken to wearing girls’ clothes at home, as well as on occasional ‘dressing-up’ days at school.

"It was a stupid thing I did because I was upset and tired and it was the middle of the night and I was an immature kid," says Alpert. Alpert was arrested and charged with sending child pornography, a felony to which he pleaded no contest but was later convicted.

Indeed, they say that unless the headmaster, Chris Walls, makes a full apology, they will consider legal action — a move Miranda claims is to protect other transgender teenagers.

"An adult would go to prison for this," says Skumanick, adding, "If you take the photo, you've committed a crime.

If you send the photo, you've committed a different crime, but essentially the same crime." Critics, however, say child pornography laws on the possession or dissemination of graphic images were never meant to apply to teen sexting and that these teenagers usually have no criminal intent when they send pictures to each other. Fifteen-year-old Marissa Miller of northeastern Pennsylvania was 12 when she and a friend snapped themselves wearing training bras.

George Skumanick Jr., a district attorney from Wyoming County, Pennsylvania, took a novel approach when 20 students from Tunkhannock High School were caught allegedly sexting.

He gave them a choice: probation and re-education classes or be charged with sexual abuse of a minor.

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