Saturday, November 06, 2010

(Frederick County) School system enacts rules against 'sexting'

Thursday, November 4, 2010
Margarita Raycheva | Staff Writer

Growing trend of sending racy messages leads educators to include the term ‘sexting' in disciplinary guidelines for students, alongside gang activity and physical assault

Ask a parent about sexting and you may get a blank stare. But most Frederick County teens will know exactly what you are talking about.

Sexting, which is the act of sending nude or partially nude photos by cell phone, is becoming a popular habit of camera-phone equipped teens nationwide and Frederick County is not an exception.

"I noticed it in middle school when kids started getting cell phones," said Sarah Hauver, 17.

The Walkersville High School senior, who recently gave up Facebook for more face time with her friends, says she has never sent out such a message, but she is familiar with the trend and knows at least one person who has sent one.

When she was in ninth grade, two girls at her school got in trouble for sending out provocative videos and images of themselves via phone message, she said. The images were only meant for specific boys, but ended up getting leaked to dozens of other students, causing a major embarrassment, Sarah said.

"It got around really fast," she said.

The trend is a growing concern for educators in Frederick County, leading them for the first time this year to include the term "sexting" in disciplinary guidelines for students, alongside gang activity and physical assault.

Sexting now is a separate violation within Frederick County Public Schools' bullying regulations and, depending on the scale of the offense, the punishment for students who send these messages ranges from suspension and a parent conference to expulsion. Schools can also report offenders to law enforcement if they suspect a violation of criminal law, according to Ann Bonitatibus, the school system's associate superintendent for secondary schools.

"As the technology evolves, we have to keep up with it," she said. "And (sexting) impacts school environment."

Read more HERE.

1 comment:

LegalBeaglette said...

The school system advises teachers and administrators not to look at images on students’ phones if they suspect they may be able to find controversial images…but at the same time has policy that may suspend or expel students for the offense?

Rather confusing.