Hypersensitivity strikes again, and its victims are getting younger and younger. Most recently, it’s Emanyea Lockett, a student in a North Carolina elementary school, who was booted from school for commenting that a teacher was “cute.” That’s it.
He didn’t ogle her booty when she walked past his desk or brush up against her in an inappropriate manner. He whispered his fondness to a classmate, it was overheard by an apparently overzealous substitute teacher, and Lockett, a fourth-grader who is all of 9 years old, was issued a two-day stretch of hard home suspension by the principal. For sexual harassment.
Next up: preschoolers who hug life-sized cartoon characters and princesses at Disney Land. Keep your hands to yourselves, kids.
Now Jerry Bostic, the educator behind the decision to oust the boy, was handed the ultimate ultimatum by the school district: resign or be fired. He was given an hour to decide between the two. As you may imagine, he chose to leave with a bit more dignity and call it quits on his own.
He points out that the move to suspend Lockett was one mistake in an otherwise stellar career. That may very well be so. But as it usually goes, none of his good deeds garnered national attention and loads of media buzz. His so-called “one” mistake — the one we know about, anyway — did, however. And it sparked so much outrage and disbelief that the suspension was reversed and the school district was backpedaling faster than a pimp sliding into a baptismal pool.
It seems that, in the zeal to stave off any inappropriate pining over a staff member, Bostic and his cohorts took an innocent comment and fanned the flames of controversy with it. As an educator, he should know there certainly are kids out there saying and doing all kinds of things that would make a grown person blush and those are the students begging for a few days of suspension, if for nothing else but to make an example out of them for the other children looking on.
But this just wasn’t one of those instances that called for hard and swift justice. In fact, it didn’t call for any reaction from the administrative office at all. That little boy is almost certainly not the first kid to ever have a thing for one of his teachers. I’m pretty sure the concept of a “schoolboy crush” was born many moons before this child’s mama's grandmother was a kid. It’s part of the innocence of being young and experiencing those first feelings of affection for somebody. Because they’re nice. Because they’re funny. And yes, because they’re cute.
Bostic made himself look like a bully because he overreacted. So now he and his singular-mistake-making self has to pay the wages of slapping a 9-year-old with a sexual harassment accusation.
Was the school out of line for suspending the boy for his comment? And aren't you just a little curious to see the cuteness of the teacher who's at the root of all this controversy?
Image via woodleywonderworks/Flickr