What are the legal consequences of “sexting” in a high school?

UPDATED: Feb 6, 2011

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What are the legal consequences of “sexting” in a high school?

I am a high school teacher. As one of my classes was beginning, my students were talking about receiving a nude picture though texting. I asked who had that picture, and many boys did. I asked who would volunteer their phone so that I may report it to the principal and one of my students volunteered his phone. However he didn’t want the friend who sent it to him to be in trouble, so he deleted the text after saving the image to his picture collection. After informing the principal, they took my student and intimidated him by telling him that he could be in a lot of trouble. Is he? What are the legal consequences?

Asked on February 6, 2011 under Criminal Law, California


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

No good deed goes unpunished.  Yes, he could be in a lot of trouble.  Sexting laws have taken hold all over the country and prosecutors are prosecuting those who are involved as sex offenders which can result with everything that is associated with that status of convicted, including registering as a sex offender.  It would be a good thing for you to in some way help this child by informing his parents and having them get him an attorney as soon as they can.  If he received the picture but did not send it on or forward it to anyone he is in a better position.  But at the very least he could be hindering prosecution.  Good luck.

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