Lawmaker: Expel students who engage in worst ‘sexting’

sextingAt a time when the U.S. legal system is facing critics from both the Left and the Right for overprosecuting mistake-prone young people and leaving permanent scars on their lives, a California lawmaker wants to allow schools to expel students for “sexting” — sending explicit photos electronically to classmates. A 2009 MTV survey found that one-third of American teens had sent, received or seen “sexts.”

But the Assembly member behind the measure — Ed Chau, D-Monterey Park — says his bill, AB2356, will be carefully crafted to only allow for the expulsion of students who send sexually explicit or nude photos electronically “with the purpose or effect of humiliating or harassing a pupil.” Chau emphasized that existing laws on cyberbullying and revenge porn were not adequate to deal with the “sexting” problem, which experts have said for years leads to mental health issues among teens.

The law would not apply to “sexts” sent from student to student while away from school, leading critics to wonder about its effectiveness. But that wasn’t the only objection raised to Chau’s bill, as The Los Angeles Times reported:

Catherine Hill, vice president for research at the association, said she would prefer an approach to sexting that allows the students to address their actions while remaining on campus and receiving counseling. …

 

Free speech advocates have been skeptical of efforts to address cyberbullying.

 

The California bill concerns Sameer Hinduja, a criminal justice professor at Florida Atlantic University and co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center, which keeps track of states with sexting laws.

 

His qualms stem in part from the law’s assumption that administrators can determine the intended purpose of the material students send. The bill, he said, “seems to assume that identifying intent is easy. And it’s totally not in these types of situations.

 

“I would be afraid that we’re starting to infringe on civil liberties.”

Boy charged with sexually exploiting himself

Twenty states have laws on “sexting.” However, there is growing concern that this prosecution-centric approach to a practice that shocks older generations but seems routine for some young people punishes and stigmatizes minors.

Writing in 2014 for Reason.com, Lenore Skenazy detailed cases in Minnesota and Virginia in which authorities considered treating teens who swapped “sexts” as sex offenders whom the community needed to be protected from.

In September, an unsigned post on Techdirt.com explored a North Carolina case in which a 16-year-old boy who sent a lewd photo was charged with sexual exploitation of a minor — himself.

But Chau insists that he is aware of such dubious uses of sexting laws and will be able to craft a law that makes distinctions between the ways lewd photos are shared and the intent of those sharing such images.

A hearing has not yet been scheduled on his bill, and the Legislature has yet to do a formal analysis of the measure.

7 comments

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  1. Richard Rider
    Richard Rider 17 March, 2016, 08:22

    I would suggest that government require politicians who use ANY electronic device to provide full and open transparency of their personal activities and accounts without FOIA requests being required. Aside from revealing the usual corruption, vote buying, influence peddling, etc., the exposure (sorry) of all the porn watched would result in the prudish public voting many of them out of office — to make room for NEW porn viewers in office. Kind of a self-limiting term limits program.

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  2. tmaddison
    tmaddison 17 March, 2016, 15:53

    I’m guessing this legislator had a burning need to make the news one day.

    This is likely one of the key issues facing our state – far higher priority than, say, pension reform or securing our water supply…

    Reply this comment
  3. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 17 March, 2016, 21:15

    But the Assembly member behind the measure — Ed Chau, D-Monterey Park — says his bill, AB2356, will be carefully crafted to only allow for the expulsion of students who send sexually explicit or nude photos electronically “with the purpose or effect of humiliating or harassing a pupil.
    When can we expel idiots in the Assembly out of CA for moron acts like this??

    Reply this comment
  4. desmond
    desmond 18 March, 2016, 03:42

    Hey, what about Gavin Gruesome and pictures with Dontavius Donkey and Gregory Goat?

    Reply this comment
  5. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 18 March, 2016, 16:20

    Since when do liberals worry about anyone’s morals,,,,,,,,,.,,appears this is an attempt at some type of kinkeee control, or without documented evidence, of shutting down free expression…..who will determine what is sextexting….review tribunals…..appeals boards…..pastors…..guidance counselors……psych wierdos….police….courts…..follow the money-

    Reply this comment
  6. desmond
    desmond 19 March, 2016, 05:37

    Rex, Ted is the caboose behind Dontavius Donkey.
    The four move like an accordion. Perhaps their voices would sound like the accordion, but I doubt it.

    Reply this comment

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Chris Reed

Chris Reed

Chris Reed is a regular contributor to Cal Watchdog. Reed is an editorial writer for U-T San Diego. Before joining the U-T in July 2005, he was the opinion-page columns editor and wrote the featured weekly Unspin column for The Orange County Register. Reed was on the national board of the Association of Opinion Page Editors from 2003-2005. From 2000 to 2005, Reed made more than 100 appearances as a featured news analyst on Los Angeles-area National Public Radio affiliate KPCC-FM. From 1990 to 1998, Reed was an editor, metro columnist and film critic at the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin in Ontario. Reed has a political science degree from the University of Hawaii (Hilo campus), where he edited the student newspaper, the Vulcan News, his senior year. He is on Twitter: @chrisreed99.

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