Principal Who Suspended 9-Year-Old 'Sexual Harasser' Should Keep His Job

chiquita lockett and emanyea lockett
Chiquita Lockett with 9-year-old son, Emanyea
When a 9-year-old gets suspended for calling his teacher "cute," you know the world's gone mad. Or maybe it's just the North Carolina school district where this went down. The now former principal Jerry Bostic was apparently behind the decision to suspend Emanyea Lockett from Brookside Elementary School for three days after he told another student his teacher was "cute" and a substitute teacher overheard the remark. As any sane person would note, the whole thing was totally blown out of proportion, and suddenly, Lockett was being accused of sexual harassment (which is not only completely crazy, but of course debases actual incidents of sexual harassment).

In the wake of the situation, the school board gave Bostic the choice of taking a demotion to assistant principal, quitting, or getting fired. Bostic chose to retire, and like that, his 44-year career was over. Wow, everyone in this school district must have lost their minds.


At first glimpse, it's easy to think, okay, the guy was crazy enough to a.) suspend a 9-year-old for doing something completely innocent, and b.) call that sexual harassment. Nuts! So maybe it really was time he packed his bags. But, on the other hand, it seems like there was a lot of miscommunication surrounding this case. Papers delivered to Lockett's mother read that Emanyea had been using other, inappropriate language (calling other students "the N-word" and "the B-word") at other times. And he was technically suspended for "inappropriate behavior" after making "inappropriate statements." If this was an ongoing problem, Bostic should have spoken with Emanyea's mother before accusing a 9-year-old of sexual harassment and shuttling this whole community to Crazyville.

Clearly, Bostic screwed up, but by no means was his one offense so awful that he should have been forced to retire. What's more, his track record over the span of his career has been pretty spotless. So, to force him to give up his job over what appears to be an oversight and, even as Bostic puts it, "one mistake in 44 years," is all kinds of ridiculous.

I'm sure it had to do more with how the school district worrying about how they're being perceived by their community (15 parents called in about the incident, calling for Bostic's termination), and less to do with what the appropriate consequences should have been. If anything, they could have suspended Bostic or given him some other official "slap on the wrist." But just like Emanyea's punishment went overboard, so too was how Jerry Bostic was treated in the end. Two wrongs don't make a right.

Do you think the principal should have been forced to retire?


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