If you’re a student in Troy, Michigan, you’ve officially been warned that your school district will not tolerate ‘sexting’, the transfer of any sexually explicit material via a mobile phone from one student to another, according to The Washington Post. School officials have been given the green light to confiscate a student’s phone if there is any complaint that student has been sexting—no matter if it happened on or off campus. Offender’s phone will be turned over to local prosecutors.
It’s part of a recent ban enforced by the Troy Board of Education.
Of course, no adult thinks it’s acceptable for teenagers to waste their data plans sending each other dirty photos. But some question if this policy is also a bit lewd in its criminalization of an action which is really nothing more than a physical expression of poor teenage decision making.
Michael J. Steinberg, legal director for the ACLU Michigan, was quoted in the Post story:
“Usually, this is kids being irresponsible and careless and certainly not criminals, and they shouldn’t be treated that way.”
There is also a differing of opinion regarding how big of a problem sexting actually is among teens. Some studies, such as one conducted in 2011 by the Pew Research Center reports that 4 percent of teenagers had sent naked images of themselves, and that 15 percent had received them. However, a Journal Pediatrics study reduces the percentage of teens that have texted sexual photos to 1 percent.
Regardless of how much texting is going on in Troy, Michigan, this policy will probably end up reflecting positively on the school district. Kids need to be sent the message that their naked bodies should not end up as someone else’s desktop wallpaper. However, the teenage libido has been causing trouble since the beginning of time. Let’s hope the authorities also remember that it’s not a crime to be young and hormonally compromised.
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