Los Angeles students could soon get kicked out of school for sexting. Assemblyman Ed Chau introduced a Sexting bill (Assembly Bill 2536) Feb. 19, 2016 following at least 20 other states with anti-sexting laws. This bill is more specific than existing cyberbullying and child pornography laws in California. Assembly Bill 2536 would give schools the right to expel or suspend students for sending nude or sexually explicit photos and images electronically “with the purpose or effect of humiliating or harassing a pupil.” The law would apply to students who “sext” in that manner when at school or school-sanctioned events or on the way to or from school or school events. The bill addresses “photographs and visual recordings” sent to the targets of the bullying or to other students or school personnel.
It’s specifically geared towards the recent trend of children “sexting”, and gives school districts a way to discipline students who have directed their sexting at classmates or teachers but whose actions don’t reach a legal threshold for criminality. This would give school officials the option to expel or suspend students if they are found sexting. The bill will also require schools to include discussions of sexting in sexual health classes to teach about its legal ramifications and potential connection to cyberbullying.
The concern and pushback regarding the bill is that “expelling a child doesn’t solve the problem, because the child can continue the activity from home ” noted Robert Lotter chief executive at My Mobile Watch Dog, a company that allows parents to monitor their child’s technology. Catherine Hill, vice president for research at the American Association of University Women, said she would prefer an approach to sexting that allows the students to address their actions while remaining on campus and receiving counseling.
If Assembly Bill 2536 passes, schools will have to show the child did the act with the specific purpose or effect of humiliating or harassing the other student.
Has your child been involved in sexting and facing criminal charges or school expulsion issues? Contact the Law Office of Katie Walsh for help (714) 619-9355.