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SOSD to host "Apps and Cyber Crimes" event featuring MS Attorney General's Lead Training Officer

Apps and Cyber Crimes speaker event

As part of the Starkville Oktibbeha School District's emphasis on Child Abuse Prevention during the month of April, the district will host a Community Engagment event on Thursday, April 13 featuring Lee McDivitt, the Lead Law Enforcement Training Officer with the Mississippi Attorney General's office. Mr. McDivitt will present "APPS and Cyber Crimes: Preventing Predators from Entering Your Back Door," a discussion aimed at making parents and community members aware of the pitfalls children can face from online predators through mobile apps.

Barbara Culberson, Project Manager for Families Strengthening Families through the SOSD Discovery Center is spearheading the month-long Child Abuse Prevention Month emphasis, and organized the event to raise awareness about this important topic for keeping children safe.

"While attending the Annual Mississippi One Loud Voice Conference, we participated in two of the sessions being presented by Lee McDivitt, the Lead Law Enforcement Training Officer for Mississippi Attorney General’s Lynn Fitch’s Prosecutor and Law Enforcement Training Division," Culberson said. "His presentations were about digital apps, how they are used to target our children, and what to do if you suspect a child is being targeted.  Recognizing that the cases of 'Sextortion' and 'Sex-Trafficking' are becoming more and more prevalent in our area, we want to raise awareness and help our parents and families take action to protect our children."

McDivitt has worked as a criminal investigator for both criminal and civil cases. He has also worked as a contract special agent for both the Department of Homeland Security and the Food and Drug Administration. He is the recipient of the prestigious Top Cop award from the State of Mississippi nominated by the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office. 

McDivitt will share from his law enforcement experience about how digital apps are used by cyber criminals to target children and what parents can do if they suspect their child is being targeted.

In addition to hearing from Mr. McDivitt, SOSD will welcome special guest, Brian Montgomery, to share his family's experience with cyber crimes against children. Mr. Montgomery's son, Walker, was a Starkville Academy student and a victim of a "sextortion" crime. Walker committed suicide in 2022.

"We are very pleased that Mr. Montgomery was able to join us for this event to talk about Walker's story," Culberson said. "We want parents to understand that this is not a 'big city' problem, but one that impacts us right here in Oktibbeha County as well."

Parents and the community are invited to enjoy a food truck meal and displays of local community organizations prior to presentation beginning at 4:30pm at Greensboro Center, 401 Greensboro Street in Starkville. Various family-centered community organizations will be set up in the Greensboro Mezzanine at 5:00pm and Mr. McDivitt will speak at 6:00pm.