Classroom Technology

Penalty for Sexting

By Canan Tasci, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Calif. (MCT) — July 12, 2011 3 min read

A bill making its way through the California Senate could provide public school districts the power to suspend or expel students for sexting.

Senate Bill 919 defines sexting as the sharing of a photograph or other visual recording that depicts a minor’s exposed or visible private body parts.

The bill adds the act to a list of offenses for which a pupil may be suspended or expelled for sharing sexually suggestive or explicit material though a cellphone or other electronic device.

“Almost all high school students and many middle school students text each other, often during school,” said Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, who authored the bill.

“But the disturbing part is that these messages are sometimes sexually explicit in nature and include photos, videos and messages, known as sexting. Fact is, sexting is now a form of relationship currency for many youths and goes far beyond what passing of notes was when I was in school.”

SB 919, which was approved by the Assembly Education Committee on July 6, next faces a review by the Assembly Appropriations Committee. If approved, it must return to the Senate for concurrence on amendments.

Currently there is education code for bullying by electronic means, said San Bernardino County Deputy Sheriff Frank Navarro.

One provision says a student can be suspended or expelled for engaging in an act of bullying, another prohibits harassment and there’s a section on sexual harassment.

“If you look at those three sections, from an education point of they, they do have some sections that are applicable when it comes to giving districts the leverage when it comes to sexting, but only the first one allows districts to suspend or expel a student,” Navarro said.

“But if this bill goes through it will give administrators the teeth that (defines) it as straight sexting and they’ll have an education code that will be specifically for sexting.”

Although the bill hasn’t been signed into law, education officials said it will help in prevention and informing the public of the act.

“Anytime there is something legislative, it raises a better awareness among the parents and community members,” said Bill Bertrand, deputy superintendent of alternative education for the Chaffey Joint Union High School District.

Bertrand said sexting is not a new problem—it’s been well known for some years—and they’ve managed it as part of their routine disciplinary consequences.

Even if the act wasn’t done on campus but made its way onto one, Bertrand said it would be a disruption of school activity, which would allow the district to exercise its authority to suspend or expel the student.

“In the event it comes to our attention, there’s an immediate response by our school officials like contacting parents and working with law enforcement to acquire the actual images and verify the source of the images,” he said.

Colton Joint Unified officials said a lot of students are unaware what they’re doing is wrong.

“I think they think they’re sending a private message. They don’t know that there are state and federal laws that they’re breaking ... and if they keep the image on their phone it’s considered child pornography,” said Todd Beal, the district’s director of student services.

According to a 2008 survey by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, 20 percent of teens between 13 and 19 had sent or received nude or semi-nude pictures or videos of themselves, according to a news release from Lieu’s office.

It also showed 38 percent of teen girls and 39 percent of teen boys had shared sexually suggestive text messages or emails originally intended for someone else, according to the news release.

Copyright (c) 2011, The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Calif. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Equity, Care and Connection: New SEL Tools and Practices to Support Students and Adults
As school districts plan to welcome students back into buildings for the upcoming school year, this is the perfect time to take a hard look at both our practices and our systems to build a
Content provided by Panorama Education
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Classroom Technology Webinar
Here to Stay – Pandemic Lessons for EdTech in Future Development
What technology is needed in a post pandemic district? Learn how changes in education will impact development of new technologies.
Content provided by AWS
School & District Management Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Strategies & Tips for Complex Decision-Making
Schools are working through the most disruptive period in the history of modern education, facing a pandemic, economic problems, social justice issues, and rapid technological change all at once. But even after the pandemic ends,

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Classroom Technology Sponsor
Simplify K-5 Learning with Digital Content—All in One Place
Children learn best when there are fewer barriers to learning. Gale In Context: Elementary, matches how young kids naturally navigate online
Content provided by Gale
Gale In Context: Elementary replicates the way curious kids naturally learn, simplifying the experience
Gale In Context: Elementary replicates the way curious kids naturally learn, simplifying the experience.
Classroom Technology From Our Research Center During COVID-19, Schools Have Made a Mad Dash to 1-to-1 Computing. What Happens Next?
Districts that purchased devices for hybrid and remote learning will have to determine how to use them for in-person instruction.
8 min read
A line of volunteers carries iPads to be delivered to parents at curbside pickup at Eastside Elementary on March 23, 2020, in Clinton, Miss. Educators are handing out the devices for remote learning while students are forced to stay home during the coronavirus outbreak.
A line of volunteers carries iPads to be delivered to parents at curbside pickup at Eastside Elementary a year ago in Clinton, Miss.<br/>
Julio Cortez/AP
Classroom Technology From Our Research Center Most Students Now Have Home Internet Access. But What About the Ones Who Don't?
Here's what school districts, states, and the federal government are doing to improve at-home access to devices and the internet.
8 min read
Sam Urban Wittrock, left, an advance placement World History Teacher at W.W. Samuell High School, displays a wifi hot spot that are being handed out to students in Dallas on April 9, 2020. Dallas I.S.D. is handing out the devices along with wifi hotspots to students in need so that they can connect online for their continued education amid the COVID-19 health crisis.
Sam Urban Wittrock, left, an advanced placement World History teacher at W.W. Samuell High School, displays one of the Wi-Fi hotspots that were handed out to students in Dallas in April of 2020. The Dallas school district gave the devices to students who needed them to do schoolwork at home during the pandemic.
Tony Gutierrez/AP
Classroom Technology From Our Research Center 'A Year of Tremendous Growth.' How the Pandemic Forced Teachers to Master Technology
Educators nationwide say their ability to use technology for instruction improved significantly during the pandemic.
6 min read
Fifth grade teacher April Whipp welcomes back her students virtually during the first day of school at Moss-Nuckols Elementary School on Aug.13, 2020 in Louisa County, Va.
Fifth grade teacher April Whipp welcomes back her students virtually in August during the first day of school at Moss-Nuckols Elementary School in Louisa County, Va.
Erin Edgerton/The Daily Progress via AP