NYC Dept of Ed. To Ban Sexting and Cyberbulling

| June 21, 2010

In a move that may have huge ramifications for school boards across the country, New York City’s Department of Education is set to impose a ban on “sexting” and cyberbullying. The ban calls for a 90-day suspension for students who are caught sexting regardless of whether or not they are on school grounds. Students may also be removed from class for cyberbulling other classmates through text messages, email and other forms of electronic communication. Dept spokeswoman Margie Feinberg notes sexting and cyberbullying “has been a concern around the country.” The proposed move has its fair share of backers, mainly teachers and parents who feel students’ increasing reliance and usage of computers and cellphones have created new disciplinary problems in schools.

The measure, as expected, also has its critics. According to the New York Civil Liberties Union, the ban will amount to school regulation of student activities outside of school grounds and the ban should also be specific enough as to not punish those kids who send harmless “love notes” that may be perceived as sexting. Should the ban be passed, one can expect potential lawsuits from students and their parents over whether the ban violates students’ right to privacy and whether a school board has the power to control student actions outside of school?