Sexting education launches with ‘Now Matters Later’ video
Mike Szymanski | September 23, 2015
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This 12-minute video was posted on the LAUSD website today and will be shown to all 6th to 12th graders to warn them of the dangers of “sexting.” It is part of a campaign that will include lesson plans, posters, bilingual tip sheets and other resources for 900 elementary, middle and high schools.
The video features three high school students, Michael Meeks, Mary Rozo and Sara Ruiz from the Edward Roybal Learning Center, talking about a sexting message they received over the phone. They talk about it with their principal, other students, a school counselor, a Los Angeles police officer and Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer. All of them warn about the legal consequences, criminal liability and future jeopardy of job and college applications.
But, the point is not to threaten and scare, but to educate, Judy Chiasson, the program coordinator for School Operations, Human Relations, Diversity & Equity at LAUSD told LA School Report. “We want to educate everyone, the students, the teachers, the administrators and the parents about the proper ways to handle these situations,” Chiasson said, adding the most appropriate thing to do is to block it and report it.
Students helped put together this first informational video along with the city attorney’s office, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and other agencies. Most of the experts in the video end their warnings with the catchphrase “Now Matters Later” which shows that an impulsive move at the moment could have dire consequences later in life.
“We want to help students be responsible when they use social media,”said Board of Education president Steve Zimmer. “Most importantly, we want to keep our students safe.”
Part of the educational campaign will include Deputy City Attorney Tracy Webb speaking about cyber safety at as many as 20 schools a month over the next few months. She said, “The bottom line, I think, is there is no way we are going to arrest and prosecute ourselves out of the issue of sexting. The only way we’re going to stem the tide, get through to the kids and send the message is to partner. That means law enforcement partnering with nonprofits, partnering with LAUSD, partnering with anybody and everybody in the community, who can help send the message to stop the behavior, who can protect kids now, and protect kids in the future as far as their digital reputation is concerned.”
Two of the seniors at the Roybal Learning Complex, who helped explain about the sexting issues, emphasized that everyone seems to know someone who was affected by the issue. Mileidy Maldonado said, “I believe a lot of teenagers do it, and they don’t know the consequences. They should know that it can affect them in the long run.”
Fellow student Alexandra Hernandez said that the new campaign being launched is important “because most students tend to not know better, so they tend to sext inappropriate pictures. They do not know this could affect them in the future.”
The district policies, lesson plans, school posters and supplemental resources can be found at the LAUSD Now Matters Later website: http://achieve.lausd.net/nowmatterslater.