Apparently, we now expect children to adhere to the same rules of sexual harassment conduct as we have in the workplace.
Clearly, another one of those WTF moments.
I was chatting with a friend whose child had been accused of sexual harassment for engaging in normal childhood play. The child is six! The school decided to take normal play that is not about sex but about annoying the girls, and sexualize it.
If you ask me, what the school did is WAY creepier than a little boy trying to gross a girl out.
“EWWWWW Teacher, he gave me cooties!”
Boys love to freak & gross out girls, That’s our only method of interacting before we’re remotely interested in any kind of Physical contact, much less kissing or sexual activity.
Boys love flipping boogers at the girls, we love hiding earthworms in cubbies. We thrill to the squealing EEEEEEEEWWWWWWWW!!!! of a good plastic spider in the prettiest girl in the class’s desk.
Boys are curious about the different thinking the girls exhibit. Boys are interested in girls noticing them. Girls are after all, typically ahead of boys scholastically, and socially. In that advancement, for a time, girls are quite alien. So boys test them, annoy them, poke them and in elder times dipped their ponytails in the inkwell.
So why the hell are we treating little boys and little girls like criminals for normal, expected behavior a.k.a. being exactly what they are… Children!
I can’t even begin to imagine what reaction the old “Show me yours & I’ll show you mine” game would incite. Probably a full lock down of the school, letters to parents, and a hazmat crew!
In my childhood, I learned the physics of a catapult, and a lesson in duplicity from a girl named Patrice. She was bigger than I was and I’d been annoying her for many weeks. So one day, she invited me to the see/saw (teeter / totter) out on the playground. You know back int he day when children were allowed to go outside and PLAY.
Patrice started “bumping” the see / saw. She out weighed me by quite a bit, and with each successive “bump” It became harder to hold on to the see / saw handle. Eventually I was flying over her in a nice ballistic arc caused by her lack of braking, the flex of the wood, and the disparity between her weight and mine.
“Ohhh, that’s how a catapult works… and wow hitting the ground with my face kinda hurts.”
I distinctly recall Patrice and all her friends pointing and laughing. “How could he be soo stupid?” They were all asking each other.
Patrice hadn’t really wanted to see / saw with me at all, she was attempting to be mean. And due to my innocence she was successful.
I stopped annoying her, instead sticking close to my buddies as we continued attempting to figure out the mystery that were girls… from a safe distance.
I’d annoyed Patrice. She had enough of my annoyance and she fixed it. Her solution left my buddies and I huddled on the other side of the monkey bars like the primates we were. End of story and end of problem. I left Patrice alone and she left me alone, until Junior High School.
That’s when due to strange happenstance, she and I were paired up for square-dancing and we found that we enjoyed each other’s company. We started partnering up for chemistry, then archery, and we even went to our first school dance together.
I hope she remembers our interactions as fondly as I do.
It sounds like NONE of this kind of thing would be allowed to go on in a school today.
In fact, because of the way I annoyed Patrice I’d most likely have ended up suspended and my parents called into the principals office to discuss what an EVIL, VILE, PERVERT I was.
No doubt there’d have been bunch of questions regarding my home life and where on earth I was getting this horrific and inappropriate sexualized behavior. Perhaps my parents were abusing me or debasing me by forcing my innocent eyes to behold adults having sexual congress.
None of these rules or questions are appropriate for a child in Elementary School.
Children aren’t thinking sex, they’re blissfully ignorant, we should do our best to allow them to remain children, they’ll grow up in due time all on their own.
I don’t believe we’re making better people by isolating them from each other with rules and regulations and threats of suspension or zero tolerance policies. I think we’re creating people with no social skills.
Children explore & interact through experimentation. Sometimes they’re going to do the wrong thing and through the school of hard knocks learn how to avoid that mistake in the future.
I shudder to think what my life would have been like if all my failed experiments in socialization had been taken out of context, sexualized by the adults, or worse yet criminalized.
“Oh, he was assaulted by someone who stabbed him with a pencil, so he acted out against a girl he perceived as weaker than him because of his inherent gender bias. He sexually harassed that girl because he was trying to regain some of his white male privilege and since he’s ‘Damaged Goods’ he should be sent to a school for troubled children. Or perhaps placed in remedial classes where he can be with other heavily medicated or violent ADHD children.”
What would I be like today?