News… From State Representative Maurice A. West II
January 3, 2020
ROCKFORD, Ill. – Concerned that teenagers may not understand the consequences and legal concerns of “sexting,” state Rep. Maurice West II, D-Rockford, has introduced a measure that would ensure the topic is discussed age appropriately during sex education course material in grades six through 12.
“Cell phone usage is increasingly prevalent among students, and unfortunately this has led to inappropriate behavior associated with sexting,” West said. “Sexting can lead to bullying, harassment and legal problems. That’s why we have to clearly outline the dangers with it, as well as responses to peer pressure that teenagers can use.”
West’s House Bill 4007 would require school sex education discussions to include information on why sharing or forwarding sexually explicit or suggestive images, messages and videos can have long-term social, legal, academic and other consequences. The discussion would emphasize the importance of internet safety, as well as highlighting officials within the school environment and community that a student can reach out to report a problem.
“While there are many positives with smartphones and other devices, there are new dangers we must account for,” West said. “We have to make sure that our kids understand the risks involved with sexting, and that starts with updating our sex education curriculum to address modern challenges.”