by Mary Fischer
Ugh. Lately there are just way too many stories in the news that make us scratch our heads and go, "What the heck?!?" And that's exactly the reaction I had after hearing about a 5-year-old boy who was punished for sexual misconduct -- all because he pulled down his pants on the playground at school.
The incident is making news now, but it seems to have happened last spring at Ashton Ranch Elementary School in Arizona when 5-year-old Eric Lopez was given detention for his actions. As of now, he has a permanent note in his file indicating that he engaged in sexual misconduct. But Eric's mother, Erica Martinez, is desperately fighting to get the label removed -- because she does not believe what he did can be classified as such.
And I know what you're thinking -- this child is only 5, and plenty of 5-year-old kids engage in similar behavior without anything remotely sexual motivating them.
Erica thinks her son's young age should've been taken into consideration before putting the punishment in place. The state of Arizona even recommends that schools do so when disciplining students.
But would you believe the school district is actually defending the decision to classify Eric's actions as sexual misconduct? Assistant Superintendent Jim Dean said in a written statement:
Our school district uses consistent language for disciplinary infractions in order to provide clarity and track discipline data accurately.
That's why a 5-year-old's actions were put in the "sexual offense" category and labeled as "depantsing."
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Um, did this guy somehow miss the fact that this child is a kindergartner? How can anyone think that this little boy was doing anything other than ... being a typical little boy?
It's pretty safe to say that the majority of 5-year-olds haven't exactly had the "sex talk" yet. How can we punish them for associating pulling their pants down with something they have no concept of?
I don't blame this mother for being outraged, and if I were her, I'd fight to have that label removed from my son's file as well. I understand that rules have to be followed, but it really seems like this school district is punishing this child simply for the sake of doing so.
Do you think this mother has a right to be upset?
Image via ©iStock.com/stoonn