A School District’s Folly


In Wednesday’s USA Today:

“DENVER (AP) — The suspension of a 6-year-old boy for kissing a girl at school is raising questions about whether the peck should be considered sexual harassment.

The boy’s mother said officials at Lincoln School of Science and Technology in Canon City, a southern Colorado city of 16,000, are over-reacting. Jennifer Saunders said her son was suspended once before for kissing the girl and had other disciplinary problems, and she was surprised to find out that he would be forced out of school again for several days.

First grader Hunter Yelton told KRDO-TV that he has a crush on a girl at school and she likes him back.

“It was during class, yeah. We were doing reading group, and I leaned over and kissed her on the hand. That’s what happened,” he said.

Saunders said she saw nothing wrong with her son’s display of affection. She said she punished him for other problems in school, including rough-housing. She was shocked when the school’s principal brought up the term “sexual harassment” during a meeting.”

          The school and the district have shown themselves to be more than a bit overbearing. Punishing a six year old and ruining his record with the notation of sexual harassment will follow him right through his entire academic career. Who, really, is the adult in the room?
          Even the parents of the girl didn’t complain that this happened.
          Certainly, if the boy were 16, then this would be a justifiable punishment, since a 16 year old understands the significance of an unwanted advance. But, six? Is the district afraid that it may be sued by the girl’s parents? Did anyone from the school or the district even speak to the girl’s parents about their feelings on this? I bet not.
          And since when did a school district know better than a parent what is right or wrong for his or her child? Again, if the girl’s parents addressed it with the boy’s parents, or not, it is up to the parents to resolve it. Not the district.
          Yes, I understand schools have “zero tolerance” policies. But would that not be for gun and knife possession, fighting and bullying, or other violent, unacceptable behavior? Since when is kissing a kid’s hand by another kid violent or unacceptable? This takes the policy to the extreme.
           Here is a tip for schools and districts: How about getting back to the business of teaching our children. You spend so much time prepping them for tests, yet they have learned nothing to prepare them for life. And, by the way, how about paying more attention to what teachers are doing in the classroom by educating the kids, rather than worrying if a little boy kisses a little girl’s hand.
          You are not the parent or babysitter. Stop acting like one.
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