TAMPA, Fla. – School officials threatened a Florida fourth grader with sexual harassment charges after he sent a love note to a crush in class, and other students started teasing him about it.
“He’s 9,” the boy’s mother, who was not identified, told WPTV. “What little kid doesn’t write love notes?”
The boy, who also was not identified, penned the note and others recently to a young girl in his Hillsborough school. He wrote about how he liked her neatly kept hair, how her eyes “sparkled” like diamonds, and why he finds her so “funny and cute,” according to the note published by the news site.
The boy’s classmates, however, soon began teasing the child about how he wanted to see his crush naked, and the school’s principal intervened. The mother said the school took issue with the note in part because it wasn’t the first.
“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 told WPTV.
The news site consulted with Tampa psychologist Valerie McClain, who said she doesn’t believe the notes constitute harassment, and simply talking to the child about the situation should suffice.
“It may be something he thought was very sweet and innocent,” she said. “What needs to happen is education needs to be provided about how to relate to this young girl or how to say away from talking to her, if that’s the goal.”
The mother, meanwhile, doesn’t believe her son’s musings about how he likes that his crush wears the same uniform, or how she makes his heart beat fast, should warrant criminal charges.
“My 9-year-old doesn’t even know what sexual harassment means,” she said.
Those who commented about the situation online clearly believe the threat of a sexual harassment charge is ridiculous.
“Another reason to home school,” Vladamir Untruksur posted. “The way things are going the only ones left in public school will be the thugs whose parents are too stupid, too lazy or don’t care.”
“If your children are still in public schools you are a very bad parent,” Bill Cash added.
“Ridiculous!” Lisa Gaspard wroteon the WPTV site. “What is happening to our common sense?!”
“What in the heck is this world coming to. Something else to take away from a child’s innocence!” Vi Plymel posted to Facebook. “This makes me sick!”
“Schools need to accept innocent notes and stop labeling them as inappropriate comments unless they are really inappropriate,” Eli Beth wrote. “This could destroy the child for life by legally making him a sex offender.”
“How ridiculous,” Sarah Furnell added, “let kids be kids. They will have enough to worry about when they’re adults. Don’t take childhood away from them.”