California Schools May Expel Students Over ‘Sexting' Under Proposed Bill

AB 2536 was introduced this month and focuses on "sexting" with the intent to humiliate and harass a student.

California students who send racy text messages that may cause psychological harm could be expelled from school under a bill just introduced in Sacramento.

It is a reaction to a wave of sexting that some say is becoming the new norm for adolescent sexual awareness.

But it is development with a dark side -- leading to the suicide of 15-year-old Audrie Pott of Saratoga three and a half years ago.

Pott was sexually assaulted by three teenage boys with pictures taken later posted online. The incident drove the teen fro Saratoga High to suicide.

Now lawmakers in Sacramento seek to give school administrators the power to suspend or expel a student who engages in "sexting with the purpose of humiliating or harassing a pupil."

Educators admit sexting with the intent to cause harm is a growing problem.

"As technology plays a greater role in our kids' lives, lawmakers need to come up with ways to help keep them safe," said Jennifer Thomas, who serves as president for the San Jose Teachers Association.

But expulsion may not be the best option.

"Suspension and expulsion takes the student out of school, but sometimes that takes them away from the guidance they need to get them to stop," Thomas said.

The bill, SB 2536, was introduced by Democratic Assemblyman Ed Chau from Southern California this month and hearings could change what some call "vague language."

"It's a problem that needs to be dealt with, but talking with students about what's appropriate is more likely to have a more powerful effect," said Margaret Russell, a Santa Clara University law professor.

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