Kiss Off! 6-Year-Old Boy Suspended for Sexual Harassment After a Smooch on the HandMeredith Carroll
Six-year-old boys can be a lot of things: Rambunctious, for one. Also — silly, curious, funny, kind, smart, temperamental and generous. But sexually aggressive? Geez, hopefully not.
Hunter Yelon, a 6-year-old boy at the Lincoln School of Science and Technology in Cañon City, Colo., seems like a boy with a lot of passion, some of which is directed at a classmate of his. He has a crush on her, so one day he kissed her hand, and another day he kissed her cheek. Perhaps that’s too forward for a boy his age, even if the girl does purportedly return his feelings of affection. So perhaps a serious talk is in order, letting Hunter know that physical affection at this age is not always appropriate.
Instead, however, he was suspended for violating his school’s sexual harassment policy.
Local Colorado news station, KRDO, reports Kiss-gate happened during school hours.
“It was during class yeah,” Hunter told the TV station. “We were doing reading group and I leaned over and kissed her on the hand. That’s what happened. They sent me to the office, fair and square. I did something wrong and I feel sorry.”
This isn’t the first time Hunter has been suspended. Previously transgressions include roughhousing and kissing the same girl on the cheek (although not at the same time).
“We’ve been working with him with the classroom disruption,” his mom said. “He was grounded for awhile. Big restrictions.”
The school is hoping that the suspension will help Hunter curb his behavior. But is shaming a 6-year-old for expressing his feelings really going to help? How can a 6-year-old really understand what “sexual harassment” means? Especially considering he doesn’t even know what “sex” is. His mother, by the way, is not thrilled to be having that conversation with him right now. Not for this reason and in this context, especially.
Can anyone really argue that kissing is not normal kid behavior? Perhaps kissing a classmate isn’t the best course of action, but suspension as a punishment for affection? That doesn’t really seem like the best route, either. Why not use this supposed bad deed as a jumping-off point for a lesson in good touch/bad touch, and how and when it’s OK to express your feelings of ardor for someone?
To think a first-grader is capable of sexually harassing someone is taking all kinds of theoretical and emotional leaps that seem more inappropriate than a kiss on the hand. And how keeping a kid home as punishment will cure him of his enthusiastic feelings seems puzzling. Perhaps suspending him for it once and then having him commit the same crime is a sign that the school needs to go back to the drawing board.
Image credit: Wikipedia