A new bill being introduced in the Illinois General Assembly would require public school sex education to include a discussion on sexting. House Bill 4007 requires sex education curriculum in grades 6-12 to include material on the legal and social risks of sharing sexually explicit images, messages and videos.
Issues surrounding sexting that would be required in curriculum include long-term consequences, bullying and harassment, resisting peer pressure and using the Internet safely. Lessons would also have to highlight school and community officials who students can reach out to with a problem.
Illinois would become the second state next to New Jersey to require teaching about sexting in sex ed courses. A 2018 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found 15 percent of teenagers studied had sent sexts and 27 percent had received them. Twelve percent also admitted to sending a sext of someone else without their consent. Sexting between minors is illegal in Illinois.
The Illinois Association of School Boards representatives have said that they stand in opposition to the bill because of the numerous curriculum mandates given by the state in recent years.