Troy School Board votes to tighten sexting policy - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Troy School Board votes to tighten sexting policy

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Michael Steinberg with the ACLU disagrees with the tightened policy.  (Credit: WJBK | myFOXDetroit.com) Michael Steinberg with the ACLU disagrees with the tightened policy. (Credit: WJBK | myFOXDetroit.com)
DETROIT (WJBK) -

A local school district is laying down the law when it comes to teens and sexting, but there are some critics who disagree with school leaders, accusing them of violating student rights.

"I think it's an invasion of privacy because, I mean, it's not hurting anyone else but yourself," said Claire Johnston.

She and other Troy High School students are chiming in and telling the district to butt out when it comes to their private messages.

"It should be more your parents not the school board or anyone else," Johnson said.

Anyone else including the cops.  The Troy School Board voted to tighten their policy when it comes to sexting on the phone or on their laptops.

No one from the district was available on camera, but the district forwarded us the actual policy that states, in part, "A violation also may result in a report being made to law enforcement.  In addition, an administrator may confiscate the device, which shall only be returned to the student's parent, guardian or surrendered to the police if reasonable suspicion exists."

One of the issues the ACLU has with this policy is who gets to decide what is sexting.  Right now, it's school officials and teachers.  Another issue they have is bringing the cops in.  They shouldn't be involved, they argue.

"Sexting can sometimes be an expression of very bad judgment.  It's not a crime, and kids should not be criminalized for these mistakes," said Michael Steinberg with the ACLU.

While sending explicit messages can land young people in trouble with the law, the ACLU says this goes too far.

"E-mailing, sending nude photos of one's self to one's boyfriend, that is not a crime in Michigan, and it shouldn't be treated as a crime.  It should be treated as a serious matter and parents should be involved, but police should not be involved," Steinberg said.

The new policy goes into effect this fall and covers laptops, phones and any other device.

"You can't really justify what's sexting sometimes and what's not, and I don't think the school board should have a ... right to go into your phone and tell you what to say and what not to say," said student Carly Pollina.

There is precedence with this case.  In fact, in Pennsylvania, a sexting case that went to the courts, the judge decided to side with the ACLU.  In terms of what will happen here at home, it will be up to individual county prosecutors to decide whether or not the sexting went too far.

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