California students have a new reason to avoid sexting. Not only is it an act that can cause serious damage to a teen’s online reputation, but sexting is now an expellable offense according to NBC Bay Area news. In a bill pass unanimously last week, SB 919 – which makes sexting a seriously punishable offense that could result in a student’s expulsion – is now headed to the Assembly floor. If it’s approved and signed by Governor Jerry Brown, the sexting bill will enter into law.
Senator Ted Lieu, the bill’s sponsor, identified sexting as a growing problem in Californian schools, citing study findings that one in five teens have either sent or posted a nude or semi-nude photo or video of themselves. The bill defines sexting as “sending or receiving sexually explicit pictures or video by means of an electronic act,” and would allow school districts to discipline students for acts of sexting while on school property, coming from and going to school, during any breaks throughout the school day, and while traveling for school-sponsored events.
There is definitely some gray area in terms of the specifications of the bill. For example, what if an image or video is sent between teens from two different schools? That poses the question of which school or school district would address the issue. What rules apply if a sext was sent away from school and completely outside of school hours? And what if a student sends an inappropriate photo that isn’t of them but is of either another peer or is just an image they found on the Internet? Regardless of how these questions are addressed if this bill becomes a law, educate your kids on the dangers of sexting. There are stories in the news almost every day about some kind of inappropriate content sent online or via text message, whether it concerns a public figure or is about a student facing some kind of disciplinary or legal action because of something inappropriate that they sent. Sexting can only result in negative consequences, and can seriously affect your child’s reputation – both on- and offline – forever.
Has there even been any kind of sexting incident at your kids’ schools? How was it handled?