Full recordShow full item record
AbstractThis paper is an exploratory study about sexting, the sending of sexually explicit or illicit photos or video between cell phones, in Kansas public schools. An on-line survey asked superintendents to report if they have had an occurrence of sexting in their district. They were also asked if they felt sexting is currently a problem in their district. Finally, the survey asked those superintendents who had experienced sexting to report if they involved law enforcement in their investigation. Follow up phone interviews where also conducted to try and identify common themes among districts and their perceptions of sexting at this time. Out of 79 districts which completed the survey, 41 districts or 52% report they have dealt with sexting in their schools. Of these 41 districts, 27 or 66% estimated they have had two to five instances in the past two years. 69% of all districts completing the survey reported that they do not feel sexting is a problem at this time. Of the 41 districts who reported dealing with sexting, roughly half (52%) felt sexting currently is a problem. Common reasons why some districts don't feel sexting is a problem include the fact that there are so few instances, and that most of the sexting occurs outside of school. Superintendents who felt sexting is a problem commonly said that even one instance of sexting in their school is a problem. Many superintendents also feel that only a small percentage of sexting between their students is reported to school officials. Of the 41 districts who reported having dealt with sexting, 68% reported that they involved law enforcement in their investigation. Many districts reported they were unaware of the outcome of any legal investigations due to the fact that legal records of minors are not public record. However, two districts reported they knew charges where filed and reported they believed students received probation for their sexting activities. 70% of all participating districts reported that they do not have a policy that specifically addresses sexting. After interviewing ten superintendents, most felt that this issue would be covered by their current cyberbullying policy, acceptable use of technology policy, or use of cell phone policy. However, sexting may violate the Kansas state statute Sexual Exploitation of a Child (K.S.A § 21-3516, 2009). Districts should consider adopting a policy that specifically prohibits sexting. Administrators must continue to make prudent decisions when considering whether a sexting violation warrants the inclusion of law enforcement in their investigation.