Today’s Washington Post details a nice example of where feminist sexual harassment hysteria (combined with a litigious society) leads:
“In his seven years, Randy Castro has been an aspiring soccer player, an accomplished Lego architect and a Royal Ranger at his Pentecostal church. He also, according to his elementary school record, sexually harassed a first-grade classmate.
“During recess at his Woodbridge school one day in November, when he was 6, he said, he smacked the classmate’s bottom. The girl told the teacher. The teacher took Randy to the principal, who told him such behavior was inappropriate. School officials wrote an incident report calling it ‘Sexual Touching Against Student, Offensive,’ which will remain on his student record permanently.
“Then, as Randy sat in the principal’s office, they called the police…
“Randy is only one of many children to be dealt with harshly as schools across the country grapple with enforcing new zero-tolerance sexual harassment policies and the fear of litigation.
“The Virginia Department of Education reported that 255 elementary students were suspended last year for offensive sexual touching, or ‘improper physical contact against a student.’ In Maryland, 166 elementary school children were suspended last year for sexual harassment, including three preschoolers, 16 kindergartners and 22 first-graders, according to the State Department of Education. Statistics for the District were not available.
“In 2006, a kindergartner in Hagerstown, Md., was accused of sexual harassment after pinching a female classmate’s buttocks. A 4-year-old in Texas was given an in-school suspension after a teacher’s aide accused him of sexual harassment for pressing his face into her breasts when he hugged her.
“Ted Feinberg, assistant director of the National Association of School Psychologists in Bethesda, said he had never come across a case of sexual harassment in elementary school in his three decades in the schools. To label somebody a sexual harasser at 6 ‘doesn’t make sense to me,’ he said. ‘Kids can be exploratory in behavior, they can mimic what they see on TV.’”
The “sexual harassment in schools” hysteria began in the early ’90s, and I was a teacher at the time and I remember it well. There was a directive to the administration at the high school where I was teaching to lay down the law on sexual harassment, so the Dean of Discipline went from class to class giving a ringing speech about sexual harassment.
I liked him personally, but he was a law & order type and would go overboard sometimes. I remember listening to him giving a threatening lecture to my class–correction, to the boys in my class–about sexual harassment. The definition was so wide and vague (including “looks”) that practically any boy could have been penalized under it if a girl wanted to bring him down.
Afterwards I said to the guy, “The definition of sexual harassment seems pretty broad. The boys can get in trouble just for looking at the girls, but some of the girls are doing everything they possibly can to make the boys want to look at them.”
His reply was predictable–”Those are the guidelines we’ve been told to enforce.”
The policies detailed in the Washington Post are vastly more absurd than this, since they deal with elementary school boys.
The full article is Kids dealt with harshly as schools grapple to enforce zero-tolerance policies (The Washington Post, 4/2/08) by Brigid Schulte. Thanks to Robert, a reader, for sending it.
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Glenn Sacks, www.GlennSacks.com