J.H.S. 227 the Edward B. Shallow School (6500 16th Avenue) currently holds the title for most students suspended for texting sexually explicit photos and messages in New York City.
According to the Post, last year Edward B. Shallow issued 32 suspensions for the behavior, including text messages sent after school hours, in compliance with a 2010 addition to the Department of Education’s disciplinary code. During the same period, just a handful of city schools – 13 in total – suspended more than 10 students.
Despite the tabloid tendency to make it appear that Bensonhurst students engage in more sexting than most, Principal Brenda Champion chalks up the stats to vigorous enforcement of a zero tolerance policy on the inappropriate messages.
From the Post:
One girl said a boy classmate pressured another girl into texting him a picture of her breasts. The photo was forwarded to other students.
“Yeah, I’ve seen it. It was her boobs,” one girl said.
Principal Brenda Champion — who dubs herself “Champion for Children” — is proud of her school’s crackdown. The stats, she said in an e-mail, show Shallow takes mischief “very seriously and addresses any infractions.”
Parents hailed her leadership. The school earned an “A” from the DOE and boasts an after-school program with art, music and homework help.
“She has a zero-tolerance policy,” said Phyllis Cangro, president of the Shallow PTA.
While parents welcome the school’s vigilance, an attorney quoted in the Post article says that it is illegal for the school to regulate student’s sexual behavior outside of school, unless they find nude photos of a minor, the behavior had a direct and serious impact on the school environment or violates the student’s civil rights – which was most likely the case with the topless photo mentioned above.
Barring child pornography however, lawyer and child advocate Parry Aftab says schools are generally prohibited from interfering with behavior outside of the classroom, suggesting that the U.S. Supreme Court will eventually have to rule on the extent of a school’s jurisdiction.