Senators on Tuesday unanimously passed the bill proposed by Sen. Ted Lieu, a Torrance Democrat. It defines sexting as sending or receiving sexually explicit pictures or video electronically.
State law allows school districts to punish students for behavior that occurs on school grounds, while coming to or leaving school, during lunch breaks or en route to school sponsored activities.
Lieu says it's a growing problem in California schools. He cited a study saying one in five teens reported sending or posting nude or semi-nude pictures and videos of themselves.
The American Civil Liberties Union opposes the bill, which now goes to the Assembly.
The Associated Press contributed to this story