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SEXTING: What can schools do? - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

SEXTING: What can schools do?

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SHREVEPORT-BOSSIER CITY, La. -- In a world where education often centers on technology, public schools have a tough job to ensure it's used properly.

It's happening more and more these days. A student takes a nude picture of him or herself and send it to a boyfriend or girlfriend in a text message; Inevitably, the couple breaks up, and the one who got the picture forwards it on to friends.
Soon that picture is spread through the school like wildfire. 

According to recent stats, 22 percent of high-school age students and 33 percent of college-age students have been involved in sexting.

More common among girls, 22% teen girls and 18% teen boys. Sending semi-nude or nude photos is slightly more common among teen girls.

22 percent of teen girls report sending naughty pictures, while only 18 percent of same-age boys have. 

Sending or receiving a sexually suggestive text or image under the age of 18 is considered child pornography and can result in criminal charges.

Local schools and law enforcement are holding a series of educational assemblies on the dangers of sexting.
It's in the wake of recent sexting scandals involving students sending sexually explicit pictures via mobile phone.

"We are always going to be there to protect our kids in every way possible, and that's why we are being proactive to alert students as well as there parents to the dangers of sexting or illegal behavior via social media or the Internet," said Public Relations Liaison for Bossier Parish Schools Sonja Bailes.

In Caddo, students can have cell phones on campus but they are not to be visible in the classroom. School officials in the district have issued a zero tolerance policy against sexting teens. 

"In the event of sexting, of course we will follow our policy regarding a suspension pending an expulsion hearing,  and of course we refer to law enforcement as far as that sexting offense," said Communications Director for Caddo Schools, Victor Mainiero.

Bossier officials say if a student is the victim of either racy texts and or nude photos being shared among other students, they should report it. 

"If a student feels that they are the victim of sexting and it becomes a school issue, then they need to go to their Principal or their school resource officer who will immediately look into that allegation and decide if it needs to become a law enforcement issue, or if it's a school matter that needs to be dealt with at that level," said  Bailes.

"Technology today is a valuable tool as long as they're using it for that," said Mainiero.

At least one school district employee noted that schools can't do it all. Ultimately parents are the best placed to set rules and watch over how their children are using the technology they have.

" We live in a world of technology.   Also with the pros of technology also comes some cons.  We just have to exercise responsible usage and you know that's always going to be a bit of a challenge both from the parental standpoint as well as the school stand-point," said Bailes.


 

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