From: Kerstin Otto
Subject: TAK_TL: school rules revisited
last week Herbert Friedrich sent you a little newpaper clipping about a first grader who was accused of sexual harrassment and consequently was suspended from his school.
Here's Herbert's text again and I will add an English translation. Students in Hamburg will return to class on Monday and I hope we can get a good discussion going again.
A kiss on a girl's cheek had severe consequences for Jonathan Prevett, a irst grader in Lexington, N.C. He was suspended from school because of sexual harassment. The school thinks this action was justified. Jonathan's mother is outraged. She could understand if older students were accused of sexual harassment, but in her son's case the school overreacted. After all, Jonathan only kissed another six year old on the cheek after she had asked him to do so in order to prove his friendship to her.
"A six-year old kissing a six-year old is inappropriate behavior, no matter how old they are," explains Jane Martin, spokesperson for the school. These rules can be found in a rule book that every student received at the beginning of the school year. The principal has a written statement of all parents in which they confirm that they have explained to their children in detail what is and is not allowed in school. These rules will make kids think twice whether or not they are allowed to hug someone, argues Jonathan's mother. "No wonder there are so many sick people out there."
Subject: TAK_TL: Kissing
I think I've introduced myself before, if not, I'm Sean, I'm 18 years old, I live Columbus, Ohio USA, and I currently attend the Ohio State University as a Communications Major. None of my friends can understand why the little kid got punished for kissing his female friend. I personally think that it is rediculous. At 6 years old you aren't really aware of what romance is. (Also at 6 years old you have no clue what sexual harrassment is, which is what they said he was guilty of.) The fact that he was suspended from school for kissing a girl on the cheek, not the mouth, but the cheek, leaves me totally speachless. I'm appalled at the notion that a school could suspend a 6 year old boy for sexual harrassment when nothing sexual was involved, or implied. I believe that this is a good example of political correctness gone too far.
Party on and stay cool!
I think the school's action to suspend him was justified because no matter what age you are you should not do that in school. I think this the parents fault and that they failed to teach that to him. I think if he is going to go through life gettimg in trouble constantly, be to easily influenced by a bad crowd, and not get good grades. In my school I'm sure we rules against this sort of thing but some kids still do it, i don't know what the penalty for this is but I'm sure it's not as harsh as it should be. But still he's just a little kid and even out of school he shouldn't be doing that its just plain wrong for such a small kid to do especially in school. He's lucky he did not get expelled, iI htink he should be so other kids don't follow his bad example. Danny
From: Hamburg, Germany
We response to Danny's letter. Why do you call it Jonathan's parents' fault? I cannot find any kind of "fault" concerning this matter. I think it would be much worse if the parents would "teach" their children not to do things like that. Danny said that Jonathan gets in trouble all his life if he does indecent things. But what is indecent about kissing a girl, especially if it is only a kiss of a six-year-old displaying his affection. I don't know how people can waste their time arguing about this kind of thing you cannot even call a minor misdemeanor.
Gregor und Philipp
I think that the actions of this six year old are as innocent as the child. The school blew this whole case totally out of proportion. I could see if the boy was twelve or thirteen and the girl was six that this would be a sexual harassment case, but honestly, two six year olds?! I can understand that the teachers want to prevent teens from doing "inapropriate" things in the halls and classrooms, however , there is such a thing as going to extremes. The mother's reaction to the verdict of the school board is totally correct, her son was only professing his friendship to his friend, who happened to be a girl. Had the boy kissed another boy would he have been labeled as homosexual? in first grade??? The whole point is that although the boy may be exposed to sex on television, at six years old, he is physically incapable of the act of intercourse. The school was totally out of line in it's punishment unless the little boy had forced himself upon her.
From: Hamburg, Germany
We are two girls from Hamburg, Germany. Basically we agree with your letter and think that the school just overreacted.It is absolutely stupid to suspend a six-year old boy from school because of sexual harassment. Probably he does not even know what the word means.
At our school such rules do not exist at all . That does not mean that everybody is kissing all the time but if somebody does during break nobody cares. Noone does during class , first of all the teachers then would say something and for you and your partner it would be quite embarrassing if everybody stares of you. Usually the teachers do not say anything but sometimes some of them are teasing you about it.But you cannot be suspended from school or get detentions.
Bye and write back,
Melanie and Sonja