Anti-Sexting Bill Would Define Sexting as Cyberbullying

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SACRAMENTO --

Sexting among students -- it’s a big concern around the country.

Some teenagers in El Dorado County admit it happens at Ponderosa High School.

"Most teenagers feel like they need to send nudes or inappropriate text messages to the person they like to get their attention,” senior Deztiny Tores told FOX40.

These same students are familiar with sex scandals at school. Last October, two underage students from Ponderosa High School were arrested and charged for distributing child porn.

"It wasn’t really a smart idea. I mean, there are 15- [and] 16-year-olds trying to experiment and probably trying to be cool,” Tores said.

At the state capitol, lawmakers are trying to put a stop to growing problems among this cell phone-dependent generation.

Assemblyman Ed Chau tells FOX40 that the sexting phenomenon has gotten worse over the years. Chau says about 20 percent of teens have engaged in sexting.

"Several students have committed suicide because their pictures have been disseminated to others and throughout the country we've heard stories like that,” Chau said.

Chau authored AB 2536. The bill would define sexting as a form of cyberbullying and give public schools the authority to expel or suspend students caught sending lewd messages.

It would also add sexting to sex education curriculum statewide. "I think it would help if people knew the repercussions about it more because it’s not really something you learn about,” Ponderosa High School senior Charity Burrows said.

Burrows agrees more education and clear punishments could help stop sexual messages from being sent and prevent young teens from being exploited.

"When you’re young like that, people could take advantage of that,” Burrows said.

The bill passed the Assembly Committee on education this week.

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