Feb 092011
 February 9, 2011  Posted by  Surveillance, Youth & Schools

A Washington school district has decided that it will join the ranks of misguided school districts eroding student privacy rights  name of creating a safe student environment.

Scott Burton reports:

A Washington school district is taking a tough stand against “sexting.”

Monday night the Kelso School District voted unanimously to amend its existing cell phone policy to ban the explicit messages.


The Kelso School District can only cite one case of sexting among its students, but it’s tightening its grip on student cell phones.

“Our responsibility is keeping a learning environment that is optimum for student success,” said Superintendent Glenys Hill.

As a result of Monday night’s vote, sexual pictures, text messages and e-mails are now banned on school property, during school hours and at school related functions.

The new code also allows school administrators to confiscate and search students’ cell phones for the offending content.


Students caught sexting face parent and police notification, while first and second offenses may also result in suspensions. If a student is caught sexting three times they face expulsion.

“The law clearly gives us the ability to search students where we have reasonable cause,” said Hill.

The Kelso School District does not intend to conduct random searches of students’ phones. It will instead respond to cases reported to or witnessed by school staff.

Read more on NWCN.com

As I have often tried to impart to school personnel: what you do after misbehavior occurs is not as effective or helpful as what you do before misbehavior occurs. What is this district’s plan to prevent problems – other than hoping that severe consequences will act as a deterrent? Is there a privacy curriculum in place for students? Have the parents been educated by the district about how to teach their children safe and respectful conduct? Has the district consulted with expert psychologists on normal misbehavior so that they have an age-appropriate curriculum for teaching privacy and bullying and a set of age-appropriate consequences or is this a blanket rule (as it seems it is) that treats a 7 year-old like a 17 year-old while educating neither?

Imposing rules and consequences is no substitute for education and awareness training to prevent problems.

I would love to hear from the Kelso School District as to the rest of their comprehensive plan for preventing problems with sexting.

Thanks to Richard Stringfellow for sending in this link.

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