Friday, May 1, 2009

Sexting: More than an Awkward Situation

Sexting. If you're an educator, you've no doubt heard about it. In fact, chances are, you've already dealt with it in some form of the other.

If just hearing the word "sexting" sends shivers down your spine, consider the case of Ting-Yi Oei, assistant principal at Virginia's Freedom High.

"My Students. My Cellphone. My Ordeal," which recently appeared in The Washington Post, offers a first-hand account of the devastating spiral effect of one sexting incident. Oei responded to a reported case of sexting, and ended up on the wrong end of a criminal investigation into child abuse and child pornography. (To hear the defense attorney speak about Oei's case, click here.)

The lack of clarity around sexting is posing some real challenges to building administrators. Recent sexting incidents, including Oei's, illustrate just how easily schools, communities and personal lives can be thrown into upheaval. While procedures and policies are being hashed out, principals and assistant principals are in a precarious position, having to navigate their way through uncharted waters.

For helpful resources, including tips for parents and teens, visit the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy’s Sex and Tech Web page.

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