Is Sexting Out Of Control In L.A. Schools?

Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
L.A. teenagers might soon start thinking twice before hitting send on a sext — at least that's what local school officials hope. Sexting has become such a hot-button issue that the Los Angeles Unified School District is launching a massive education campaign to inform kids about the serious consequences of texting their explicit photos.

As the L.A. Times reports, officials will begin distributing educational materials — including a video, lesson plan, and handouts — to every school this fall. They also hope to involve families, community organizations, school police, and others in the effort. The L.A. Unified School District police chief, Steven Zipperman, told the newspaper that "the campaign will teach students about the dangers of sexting, including possible criminal violations of child pornography and obscenity laws and the personal consequences."

The school district hopes that education will be more effective than punishment in curbing the trend. However, there have been scores of instances where legal action was taken as a result of sexting, including 19 teenagers getting arrested in New Jersey and a police investigation in North Carolina last year. One study that looked at how youth sexting is handled by law enforcement found that arrests were made in 62% of cases involving an adult, and in 18% of non-malicious, youth-only cases.
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So that poses the question: Which will have a bigger impact on teenagers' propensity for sexting, fear of legal punishment, or simple awareness? What do you think? Tell us in the comments below.
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