Green Room

NYC Dept of Ed to Ban “Sexting”—When Teens Are at Home

posted at 9:50 am on June 20, 2010 by

"Sexting" is a no-no, even when students are off school  grounds

New York City government has become a microcosm of the federal government with its insatiable lust for more power and control over citizens of the state. First, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his overzealous Health Commissioner Thomas A. Farley out-Obamaed Barack Obama with their move to banish the salt shaker from your kitchen. This proved to be but a warm-up act for Bloomberg’s all-out nationwide assault on sodium that has included pressuring food manufacturers to cut the salt in their products.

Not to be outdone by his fellow nanny-state visionaries, New York Schools Chancellor Joel Klein last October issued an edict that would ban school bake sales, replacing this homey tradition with vending machines laden with such healthful treats as Doritos and Pop-Tarts.

Now Klein is making headlines again, this time with his announcement of a plan to ban student “sexting”—the use of a cell phone to send sexually explicit messages. On its face, this doesn’t sound problematic until you discover that Klein’s intention is to implement this ban even when the act takes place off school grounds.

If a man’s home is his castle, then by extension a teen’s room is his. But not even a moat around the room will ensure the teen’s privacy if Klein gets his way. Local CBS affiliate WCBS-TV quotes the chancellor as saying, “We’ve always been respectful of First Amendment rights. I think we’ll get the right balance here.” How he is able to mention his plan in the same breath as the phrase First Amendment is baffling. Nor is it clear what measures he envisions for policing what students do outside of school. A number of scenarios come to mind, none of them Constitutional, let alone non-offensive.

Also problematic is the recommended punishment for students found guilty of sexting, namely a 90-day suspension.

Many New York parents have expressed concern over what appears to be an invasive proposal. The majority of those quoted in the WCBS article share the view of Brooklyn resident Valerie Valdez that “[i]f they’re [teens are] doing it inside of school, that’s perfectly fine, but outside of school they don’t really have a right over what you do with your phone.”

The New York Civil Liberties Union has come down against the policy as well. Spokeswoman Donna Lieberman describes the proposed ban as “a vague, undefined prohibition that impacts expression outside of school.”

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It’s child pornography. Period.

If a man’s home is his castle, then by extension a teen’s room is his.

This is quite possibly the most idiotic thing I’ve ever seen written.

uknowmorethanme on June 20, 2010 at 10:35 AM

It’s no surprise that it’s the left that wants Big Brother to police your kid’s sexting. This seems prudish — doesn’t fit at all with the left’s usual posture on teens and sex — but of course the real point is the infringement of parental authority and freedom.

Presumably the schools will snoop on the kids’ sexting while also handing out condoms?

The zampolit control room is going to require a lot more space in the New York public schools.

J.E. Dyer on June 20, 2010 at 10:39 AM

It’s child pornography. Period.

uknowmorethanme on June 20, 2010 at 10:35 AM

And this is how the Overton Window moves.

Adult child pornographers have certain legal protections (GASP!) that are being eroded in this case, in the name of “the children,” of course. You can not search a privately-owned computer because you think, “Gee, there might be child pornography on there.” You must either have the owner’s explicit permission, or a search warrant granted by a judge.

It won’t stop at children, and it certainly won’t stop at child pornography.

gryphon202 on June 20, 2010 at 10:46 AM

If a man’s home is his castle, then by extension a teen’s room is his.

I actually agree w/ this — IF you’re talking about the state rather than the parents.

It’s no surprise that it’s the left that wants Big Brother to police your kid’s sexting. This seems prudish — doesn’t fit at all with the left’s usual posture on teens and sex — but of course the real point is the infringement of parental authority and freedom.

Presumably the schools will snoop on the kids’ sexting while also handing out condoms?

J.E. Dyer on June 20, 2010 at 10:39 AM

Bingo. You explain the apparent dichotomy perfectly.

inviolet on June 20, 2010 at 11:06 AM

Teachers can’t even stop kids from texting in the classroom.

Disturb the Universe on June 20, 2010 at 11:25 AM

Even if you want someone to control sexting, the government schools are NOT the ones to do it.

petefrt on June 20, 2010 at 11:47 AM

It’s child pornography. Period.

No, not necessarily. Sexually explicit messages does not always mean sexually explicit images. It’s not a crime for a teenager to talk dirty to another, nor should it be a crime. Lest we forget, there are also quite a few 18 year-olds in high school, so this is not only banning this behavior between consenting teens, it’s infringing upon the freedom of speech of adult teens.

Even if my son were sending/receiving dirty messages in high school, I certainly wouldn’t want school administrators to have the authority to check his phone records. No way.

RachDubya on June 20, 2010 at 1:43 PM

It’s child pornography. Period.

uknowmorethanme on June 20, 2010 at 10:35 AM

Under the current laws on the books, it absolutely is, and there is a definite problem with ‘rookie card’ kiddie porn that another poster made a very good point about on a previous thread about sexting.

My problem is that the NYC Department of Education has absolutely no authority outside the schools. While every effort should be made to fight sexting (and youth use of cell phones in general) in schools …their jurisdiction ends at the property limits of the individual school grounds.

Anything illegal that happens at a teen’s home should be handled by their parents and authorized law enforcement. Not by a bunch of suits on a power jag.

Dark-Star on June 20, 2010 at 5:18 PM

It’s child pornography. Period.

uknowmorethanme on June 20, 2010 at 10:35 AM

Indeed it is, and glad to see your eyes are open to that. Twist your eyes a bit more and see if you can macro focus for a bit to see what’s under the hood of this ruse. Don’t be a lamb that lays down with the wolves.

ericdijon on June 20, 2010 at 7:02 PM

Big Brother is alive and well in NYC.

hillbillyjim on June 20, 2010 at 7:43 PM

Interestingly, student cell phones are completely banned in NYC public schools. Kids aren’t allowed to even carry them onto school grounds, on or off. So this isn’t even a case – like say cyber-bullying – where actions off campus can have direct negative effects in the school.

Number 2 on June 20, 2010 at 10:56 PM

Somebody needs to reread the First Amendment. Again, if applicable.

itzWicks on June 21, 2010 at 7:43 PM