Kids in the Troy, Michigan school district, listen up: If teachers or any school official catches you texting naughty pictures of yourself to friends, be it on campus or off, they will confiscate your cell phone and turn it over to local prosecutors. So the next time you think it would be fun to Instagram a photo of your bare behind, you’d better think about how much you love your precious phone beforehand.
According to The Washington Post, school officials have been given the authority to remove the offending mobile device from the student’s possession if they’re discovered misusing the gadget in a sexual manner. This is yet another move from the school board to crack down on the practice known as “sexting.”
The ban reportedly prohibits “sending, sharing, viewing or merely possessing sexually explicit digital pictures, messages, text messages, emails or other material of a sexual nature in electronic form or other form on a computer, cell phone or other electronic device. . . whether or not state and/or federal child pornography law has been violated.”
Naturally, not everyone in Troy, Michigan is happy with the idea. Although parents aren’t necessarily stoked about their teenagers sending sexually explicit messages to their classmates, criminalizing the act is considered by many to be a direct limitation of free speech.
“Usually, this is kids being irresponsible and careless and certainly not criminals, and they shouldn’t be treated that way,” explained Michael J. Steinberg, legal director for ACLU Michigan.
American Civil Liberties Union has raised concerns about other areas of the policy, as well. Not only are they concerned about school officials turning over the offender’s phone to local police, they think a more concrete definition of the term “sexting” should be defined in order to prevent officials from abusing their positions.
In 2011, the Pew Research Center determined that four percent of teenagers have sent sexually explicit messages, while 15 percent have received them.