In Tampa, Florida, a mother is raising a ruckus over what she says are outrageous threats leveled against her nine-year-old son just because he's too clingy. The fourth-grader gave a love note to his crush, full of cute romantic kid stuff about how "her eyes sparkled like diamonds." Word got out to the kids in his grade, who started making fun of him and accusing him of wanting to see her naked. Then the principal got involved. As the boy's mother told WCSC:
That's when the principal proceeded to tell me that it wasn't appropriate that he was writing the note, and that if he writes another note they are going to file sexual harassment charges on my 9-year-old.
The mother was outraged, insisting that her boy doesn't even know what "sexual harassment" means (which is the same defense a lot of creepy dudes would use, but that's beside the point). The school says that he wrote multiple notes, and that they were unwanted.
But whether or not this kid doesn't know when to back off, people are outraged that the school's first action was to threaten to press charges. WCSC contacted a psychologist, Dr. Valerie McClain, for comment. She believes what he needs is positive education instead of threats he probably doesn't even understand:
It may be something he thought was very sweet and innocent… What needs to happen is education needs to be provided about how to relate to this young girl, or how to stay away from talking to her if that's the goal.
How young is too young to start teaching kids about romantic boundaries? Evidently, it's an issue in elementary school. And if the alternative is threatening to brand them as sexual harassers, maybe it should be part of the kindergarten curriculum. Otherwise you risk turning them into a bunch of bitter preteen men's rights activists. And that's terrifying.