Is this the face of a sexual harasser? This week, we discussed a seven-year-old who was investigated for sexual harassment for kicking another boy in the groin. Now, a nine-year-old boy in North Carolina who was accused of sexual harassment because a substitute teacher overheard Emanyea above chatting with a friend and calling a teacher “cute.” UPDATE: Jerry Bostic, the principal, has resigned over his decision to suspend the student.
Putting aside that the kid is nine, when did telling a third party that someone is cute become “sexual harassment.” Amazingly, the school found it was sexual harassment and suspended the boy. The principal of Brookside Elementary in Gastonia reportedly informed the mother that she has a sexual harasser in her midst.
The school handbook below contains a sexual harassment provision:
Rule 17: Sexual Harassment (Please see policy code #4360 & #4370 for complete policy)
Sexual harassment means and includes any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and any other non-consensual and/or offensive verbal or physical contact of a sexual nature between an employee and a student or between students and includes misconduct by males against females, females against males and between students of the same gender. Sexual harassment is further defined to include two different levels or degrees of misconduct.
Physical – This form of sexual harassment includes touching, fondling and/or grabbing a student in a sexual way without that student’s consent or when the student finds such behavior offensive; and
Verbal – This form of sexual harassment includes: teasing, joking and/or making lewd remarks of a sexual nature to a student without that student’s consent or when the other student finds such behavior offensive.
Sexually harassing students, employees of GCS and any visitors or other individuals while at school is prohibited. Students are further prohibited from retaliating against an employee or student who has filed a sexual harassment complaint or participated in an investigation, proceeding or hearing regarding said complaint.
The verbal rule is pretty vague. The focus is how the comment is received subjectively by the subject of the comment: “remarks of a sexual nature to a student without that student’s consent or when the other student finds such behavior offensive.” What if no one else would view it offensive? Moreover, this is not another student but an adult who should understand that this is an innocent comment from a nine-year-old. What is interesting is that the procedure section appears to reflect an intent to protect students. (“Any student who believes that he/she has been sexually harassed by a school employee or another student should report such behavior immediately to any school official at his/her school (such as an administrator, teacher or school counselor).”). Here it is being use to protect a teacher from a statement not made to her but allegedly to another student.
This strikes me as rather bizarre and another example of zero tolerance becoming zero judgment by school officials.
Here is the handbook: Code of Conduct Student 09-10
In today’s article, it is reported that “Brookside Elementary Principal Jerry Bostic said the Gaston County Schools superintendent gave him one hour to decide whether to quit or be fired.”
Source: AJC as first seen on Reddit
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