One of the most important bits of being a parent is taking the time to teach our kids right from wrong. But in a world where a first grader just got suspended from school for kissing his "girlfriend," I've got to tell you: I just don't know what is considered "wrong" anymore!
The 6-year-old was kicked out of class after he laid a smooch on the hand of another 6-year-old, a girl, during a reading lesson. Does little Hunter Yelton sound like a sexual deviant to you? A molester who needs to be stopped at all costs?
It was a kiss on the hand. And he's SIX!!
The little boy has been in trouble at school before, which is why he's been dealt such a harsh punishment -- at least according to the folks at the Lincoln School of Science and Technology in Cañon City, Colorado.
Still, I feel for Hunter's mom, who is calling this an excessive punishment.
Was this mom really supposed to sit her 6-year-old down before he started the first grade and say, "Listen, buddy, here's one of the things you need to know to survive public school: no kissing little girls on the hand. It will land your hind end in hot water."
What parent has thought to say that?
I'll be honest: I haven't. I have an 8-year-old, and my husband and I both take her behavior seriously. We've harped on her about everything from sharing to being respectful to school staff. But we've never once sat her down for a talk about not kissing her peers.
The way we see it: she's 8. If, by chance, she were to kiss a peer, it would be completely innocent.
Kind of like a 6-year-old kissing a classmate on the hand.
The trouble is, schools don't ascribe innocent motives to so much of what our innocent kids do these days. Perhaps it's because we live in a world where so many bad things happen that it's inevitable that administrators would look to our kids with those bad things as their frame of reference. But is that fair to our kids? That someone else's misdeeds are being used against them?
I don't think so.
And quite frankly, I find myself on edge when I send my kid to school anymore. I have to question everything I do or say to her. Just recently a pal left behind some of his Nerf "bullets" on a playdate. Normally I'd have her return a friend's toys to him on Monday, but I set them aside, worried that a little piece of foam that she was kindly returning to a friend would somehow be misconstrued as my daughter "bringing a weapon to school."
Twisted, isn't it? That we parents now have to think this way about our innocent kids because if we don't think that way, someone else will ... and it will be too late to protect them from punishment?
Unfortunately, as Hunter's case shows, we can't think of everything. And in the end, it's our kids who get hurt.
My Christmas wish? That one day schools will go back to treating kids ... like KIDS!
What do you think of this little boy's punishment? What would you do if a 6-year-old kissed YOUR child on the hand?
Image via Walt Stoneburner/Flickr