Can We Outlaw Adults Sending Sexts to Children?

First Amendment protections make that difficult.

Recently the case against a 30-year-old teacher in the Everman school district south of Fort Worth for exchanging sexually suggestive texts with a 13-year-old student was dropped by prosecutors. An appeals court in a similar case out of Houston had ruled that the statute with which the man had been charged was unconstitutional. The situation has led to calls from some corners for the legislature to craft a new law that would re-criminalize this behavior.

But Grits for Breakfasts writes that it’ll be difficult to do so without subverting that pesky First Amendment:

So if, as all nine members of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals agreed, “everything” covered by the statute in question was “either already prohibited by other statutes … or is constitutionally protected,” I fail to see how the Lege can rewrite the law in a constitutional fashion. As the CCA noted, longstanding US Supreme Court precedents have held that “Sexual expression which is indecent but not obscene is protected by the First Amendment.”

The school can and should terminate the teacher and the state IMO would be justified in taking away his teacher’s license, but that doesn’t mean a crime has been committed if he didn’t solicit a meeting or distribute obscene materials.