The Short of It
Believe it or not, a 9-year-old boy may face sexual harassment charges for passing a love note in class.
Remember the excitement of getting a note from a crush? Well, those days may be over now that a 9-year-old Florida boy has been sent to the principal's office and threatened with sexual harassment charges for boldy pouring out his feelings to a girl on a piece of loose leaf paper in school.
"He's 9," his mother told ABC's WFTS News, who chose to not list the family's names to maintain their privacy. "What little kid doesn't write love notes?"
And his was pretty innocent in nature. "I like you," wrote the boy inside his drawing of a heart. "I like your hair because it is not sloppy. I like your eyes because they sparkle like diamonds."
The trouble started when his sweet words landed in the wrong hands, and other kids reportedly started teasing the boy about wanting to see the little girl naked.
"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," his mom said.
The school district told ABC Action News they did not threaten to involve authorities, but since the boy wrote multiple "unwanted notes" to his crush, it bordered on harassment.
But his mother argues he did absolutely nothing wrong: "My 9-year-old doesn't even know what sexual harassment means."
"I'm disappointed that the authorities chose to take such a heavy-handed approach," Kristi Davisson, an attorney with children in the same school district, told Yahoo Parenting. She thinks if the school does decide to pursue legal action, the boy's family may have grounds for a countersuit. "The district has had a huge push to stop bullying. Now they may have allowed this child to become a victim of it."
Licensed psychologist Dr. Valerie McClain agrees that this is probably not a case of sexual harassment. But she does encourage parents to use the situation as an opportunity to talk to their child about what is and is not appropriate in a school setting.
"What needs to happen is education needs to be provided about how to relate to this young girl or how to stay away from talking to her, if that's the goal," she told ABC Action News.