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California, Child Sexual Abuse, Victims, Sexual Predators, Sexual Abuse Legislation, First Graders, Children


By MICHELE M. BETTI | b&a opinions |

Last week in California’s Contra Costa County, a principal suspended a 6 year-old student for “committing or attempting to commit a sexual assault or sexual battery,” during a game of tag between first graders.

The little boy’s mother said the first graders were playing tag at recess and there was no intent to do any sort of sexual assault. It is alleged that one boy’s hand touched the upper thigh, or perhaps the groin area, of another boy. There were no witnesses, and no one complained. But, the 6 year-old was immediately suspended and the incident was placed on the boy’s record as sexual assault. Other parents have said their kids have been suspended for hugging.

In today’s society, with serious acts of aggression and sexual abuse towards children, do we really need to be including first graders in this category? The answer is No! All this does is dilute the issue and take the focus away from protecting children from sexual assault.

The boy’s mother said, “He doesn’t know what he did wrong. He had just received an award from the school for being a good citizen.” She contacted an attorney after the principal suspended her child and threatened legal action against the West Contra Costa Unified School District to have her son’s record expunged and the principal disciplined.

The mother then transferred her 6 year-old to a new school. Now, this little boy is trying to figure out what he did wrong and having to adjust to a new school over a game of tag.

Where has common sense gone? In the fight to protect our innocent youth, we are getting blindsided by a lack of basic common sense.

Dr. Stuart Lustig, a board-certified child psychiatrist at the University of California, San Francisco was quoted as saying that it is quite common, normal even, for young children to touch each other’s genital areas.” “It’s curiosity,” he said. “It’s not sexual in the adult sense.”

Frederick M. Hess, Director of Education Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute said the anti-bullying efforts are well intentioned, but “the policies being adopted set forth pretty strong rules regarding categories of behavior. This means there’s less room, and more risk, for principals who would make sensible accommodations based on student age and the circumstances in question.”

Let’s take a step back and refocus. Let’s let children be children, and concentrate on fighting against adults’ sexually abusing children. Let’s fight against men sexually trafficking young women and children in the United States. Let’s let a simple game of tag continue to be what it is, a simple game of tag between children…. You’re it!

Copyright 2012, b&a opinions.