Brookside Elementary in Gastonia, NC, has really stretched the meaning of sexual harassment with its two-day suspension of 9-year-old Emanyea Lockett. A substitute teacher heard the boy tell another student that a teacher was cute and when she told school officials they inflicted the suspension.
The boy’s mother, Chiquita Lockett (get past the name), told WSOCTV she doesn’t agree with the punishment. “It’s not like he went up to the woman and tried to grab her or touch her in a sexual way, so why would he be suspended for two days,” she said.
Suspension of any kind seems extremely unfair for a comment that was not said directly to the teacher and not overheard by the teacher to whom the comment pertained. A district spokeswoman said she could not go into detail about the case, but said Emanyea was suspended for “inappropriate behavior” after making “inappropriate statements.”
The district’s Code of Conduct doesn’t list “inappropriate behavior,” though. The closest behavior would be “disruption of school,” punishable by five days of out-of-school suspension, but I would hardly qualify the boy’s comment as that.
Should Emanyea’s comment be considered sexual harassment? Do you think his punishment fit the act or should disciplinary action have been taken at all?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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