Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Protected by policy

Every year when school begins, students are faced with new policies. Sometimes, those policies are simple, and don't require much of a change, such as using only mechanical pencils. Other times, the policies are much more drastic, like being told that seniors are strongly encouraged to avoid putting freshmen into lockers. Still, most of the time, the policies are created because they are filling a void that wasn't really covered before.

Which is why we don't quite understand why Houston schools have decided that they need to set down a ban concerning the act of "sexting".

To be clear, it's not that we think that students should be given carte blanche with regards to the practice. Quite the opposite, actually, as there should be a concern about the oversexualization of students, and the potential for misdeeds due to a broken relationship. After all, teens are more likely to follow (and adhere) to celebrity trends than their adult counterparts, and it's painfully obvious that plenty of celebrities have problems keeping their private text messages private. The reason we don't see much of a call for such a ban is that the act of "sexting" already carries potential criminal charges.

Think of it this way. Many of these students are under the age of 18. They are distributing nude, or semi-nude, pictures of themselves electronically to other students, who may pass those along to others in a moment of anger, revenge, or simply having lost their phone. Technically, this does fall into levels of child pornography, even if it is a somewhat more palatable form. After all, given the sexually charged nature of the teen years, a fair number of the students who are prone to "sexting" are prone to other sexual acts. And ultimately, placing a ban on these activities is going to do very little to curb either the curiosity or the rebellious nature of teens in the area.

Although, if a ban does work, we would strongly encourage the Disney company to looking into one for their television stars.

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