Texas School Says ‘Don’t Send Naughty Pics, Kids’

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I appreciate the sentiment, but I question the value of a school district’s new ban on ‘sexting.’ According to an AFP article, in Houston, some principals decided their district should ban sexual text messaging at school:

“Some principals raised the issue, so we included a provision saying sending, receiving, possessing sexually suggestive messages is forbidden,” said Hans Graff, assistant general counsel at the Houston Independent School district.

“They were reporting that it was an issue and may be becoming more of a problem,” he told AFP.

According to the AFP article, the issue of teens sexting is definitely relevant:

A recent study by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy found 22 percent of US teenage girls and 18 percent of teenage boys have sent messages or posted images or video online showing them nude or semi-nude.

Which means, when I go to the mall and see a gaggle of teenage girls, at least one of them has sent some lucky — and ideally also underage — fellow a nudie pic of herself.

I find that troubling. So, reading about the new Houston ban, I do appreciate the efforts here. But I don’t think a “ban” on something that is presumably kept as far away from high school administrators as possible is going to have much impact. Maybe the district thought that creating the ban would raise the issue to parents, who are blissfully ignorant of this phenomenon. Maybe it’s more of a message to the students of “Hey, we’re onto you, and this just isn’t right to be doing in school.”

In any case I hope if teens are texting each other naked pictures frequently, their parents are at least giving them some basic guidance like “it’s best not to include your face.”



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13 thoughts on “Texas School Says ‘Don’t Send Naughty Pics, Kids’

  1. My question is, how are the teachers going to know if the text message has a naked picture of somebody without actually looking at it. Unless a student actually shows the teacher, then I think its an invasion of privacy.

    I think that its ok for teachers to take away cell phones if its a rule at school to not have them out, but its definitely not ok for the teacher to look through the phone for pictures.

    • How about enforcing the rule to keep cell phones out of school PERIOD. There is no reason to regulate the types of text messages if the phones are not allowed to begin with. Jack asses.

      • The trouble is kids are expected to have cell phones nowadays. Ten years ago if a practice was cancelled the coach would have had the students come in to call their parents and ask for an early pick up. Now they just assume that kids have cell phones. One of my friends had to pick up her son early and found him and a couple of kids with no cell phones waiting alone at the field because the coach assumed they’d all have cells. Once kids turn 16 they really need a cell for driving because nobody stops to ask if you need help when you break down anymore. Even I have a cell phone for the car and I never use the thing otherwise.

        They can say not to take them out in class or leave them off during school hours but in this day and age it’s not reasonable to ban them from the school all together.

      • The thing is, almost every student thinks it’s ridiculous to not allow them at lunch and passing periods, as do I. And as Rhonda said, it’s expected to have a cell phone nowadays.

  2. I think indeed it is just a way of raising the issue for parents – of course sexting is wrong, and it is going to happen with without ban. However, I think there are more effective ways (letters and e-mails to parents, maybe even some chats to the students). Banning sexting is a bit ridiculous, it’s always going to be something hidden from adults.

  3. If it’s a problem in schools, just put a satellite block up so no one can text… but I mean outside the classroom, there isn’t much you can do, apart from educate about what can go wrong if you do “sext”. But I mean I did it when I was younger, but I didn’t feel it was TOO big a deal. Had someone else found the picture, it probably would have put me off for life. :S

  4. Sex messaging is not just pictures. Everyone always immediately jumps to that. It also includes like sexual conversation, which happens way more often. It’s just like cyber sex. How can the school enforce this? I don’t get it.

  5. Not that I support underage sex-pic-messages, but this reminds me of some ‘rule’ my middle school principal made up when I was in 8th grade that she’d give detention to girls doing things like ‘holding hands with or kissing older boys’ if she saw them at it in public, like at the mall or something. It was followed by her wondering ‘what was wrong with the boys we went to school with.’ Despite the fact a) there were five boys in my grade, but nine girls, and b) we’d known them since we were just about in diapers. The general response of the 8th grade class was ‘fuck this shit,’ even among us who didn’t hold hands with and kiss high schoolers in the mall. Can’t educators focus on things that they need to be focusing on? I’m in college, and it’s repulsive how many adults can’t speak proper English and have a total lack of common knowledge….and I don’t just mean the students, I mean PROFESSORS. Once the American public school system is performing it’s duties properly, THEN they can butt into kid’s personal lives. Until then, English 101 anyone?

  6. The people who really need to focusing on this problem is the parents. Parents need to know what kids are doing with their phones, and if the kids are using them for inappropriate things, the phones should be taken away from them. It’s called basic discipline.

    If I had ever done something like this as a teen, and my mother found out about it, you’d better believe I would have been disciplined (and rightly so).

  7. It’s a difficult situation to solve.
    The behaviour of youth can’t be solely blamed on parenting alone (thanks for the apology, Dr Spock), because there are so many other influences affecting children’s behaviour. To just stop the texting (though like most others, I am very confused as to how they will stop these ‘sexualized’ texts) doesn’t stop the desire to do it, which is the real problem.
    Every week some young celebrity gets compromising ‘personal’ photos revealed online. And we laugh it off, and move on. So I imagine these kids think the same will happen for them, that there are no repercussions.
    It’s a whole new form of youth emerging since social networking came into the picture. Kids on Facebook et al. have no concept of private vs. public. They put up photos online without realizing that they may fall into the wrong hands.
    I imagine parents can talk to their kids about these dangers, but isn’t it the sort of thing were a teenager would just brush it off? I can imagine ignoring such advice from my parents at that age.

  8. The problem with sexting among under-aged teenagers is that some local district attorneys have prosecuted minors and adults for child porn. If you are not aware, child porn possession and distribution convictions call for very long prison sentences and identification for life as a sex offender.

    There was a criminal case in Virginia last year involving a teacher who was arrested on child porn possession charges while he was trying to determine who had sent a naked picture of student to another student at his school. The teacher was doing his job properly and got snared by an overzealous district attorney. After a year-long nightmare, the teacher was finally exonerated. Turns out that the teacher had been forwarded the picture by another student who had received it from the girls ex-boyfriend, who was mad when she broke up with him and forwarded her picture to a bunch of his friends.

    Kids need to be made aware that sending (or receiving!) any type of pictures portraying naked underage kids (or especially pictures of underaged kids engaged in sex acts) can lead to felony child porn charges. The attorneys fees alone if you get caught up in this can be staggering.

    • This bothers me, as is it ALWAYS considered porn if someone is naked? Really? The intent to arouse is key to being considered pornography. I read of a case where a girl in sixth grade was at a sleepover with her friends, and they were all in their bras, and one girl took a picture of her. It was not sexual at all, but one attorney was trying to get someone in jail for it. I can’t recall what came of it, but that pisses me off.

      And honestly, the only time I have a problem with minors sending nude pictures to each other is when jackasses decided to send them to extra people, especially when it’s everyone in the school. That’s not right.

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