Can Someone Who Has Not reached Puberty Be A Sexual Offender?

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Some time ago, I read about a new website called Miss Bimbo which encouraged young girls to grow up much quicker than nature intended. But why blame only the website promoter, whose motives – reprehensible as they seem – are largely monetary. In this age when political correctness is getting almost out of hand, even administrators and law enforcers seem to be suspending common sense.

Randy Castro attends the Woodbridge school in Virginia. He is an aspiring soccer player, an accomplished Lego architect and a Royal Ranger at his Pentecostal church. He has now been labeled a sexual offender. Randy Castro is six years old.

What heinous offence did Randy Castro commit? According to his elementary school record, he has sexually harassed a first-grade classmate. Before your imagination goes into overdrive, let me explained how he carried out his dastardly deed. During lunch recess, one day last November, Randy smacked a classmate’s bottom. The girl told the teacher. The teacher took Randy to the principal. This resulted in an official incident report titled, in awesome bureaucratese, “Sexual Touching Against Student Offensive.” The report will remain on Randy’s student record permanently. Oh, I forgot to mention, the principal also called the police. Randy may achieve the distinction of being the youngest person in the United States with a police record.

The treatment meted out to Castro is symptomatic of a growing trend towards enforcing a new zero tolerance towards sexual harassment. In Maryland, 166 elementary school children were suspended last year for sexual harassment, including three preschoolers, 16 kindergartners and 22 first-graders. In 2006, a four-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.

Some believe this new hyperactive activism is influenced by two supreme court decisions that enable suits against school districts for failing to stop sexual harassment. The intention of the justices was well-intentioned, I suppose. In a civil society where litigation has become a way of life, school boards probably need to be safeguarded.

Indeed, school boards defend their actions, with an air or embarrassment, by pleading helplessness. As Mary Sommers, president of the National Association of Elementary School Principals, explained ”   “We need to make sure that we follow the letter of the law, so being reasonable sometimes gets lost. There’s no way these children understand what’s going on. But it’s been taken out of our hands.”   

I’m afraid I regard that as a cop out. If school administrators believe that very young children do not really comprehend the implications of what they are doing, why don’t they put up a fight by offering counter arguments to the courts. Besides, this so called ‘sexual harassment’ is hardly a recent phenomenon. Toddlers have expressed curiosity about each other’s bodies for generations. Sometimes they imitate what they have observed grown ups doing. It does not make them perverts. These kids have not even achieved puberty, for God’s sake. How can they get sexually aroused?

The quote that appears in my profile says, “I was born with a gift of laughter; and a sense that the world is mad”. The world is rapidly proving me right.

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