msolga
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Mar, 2010 04:42 pm
@chai2,
Quote:
Although we are expressing it differently, I feel we are something akin to a like mind.


Oh good, chai! Excellent! Very Happy

I'd be interested to hear more about the "powers that be" & how policy is made in the US. I've read a lot about decisions by local school boards & was wondering to what extent state & federal legislation is required to be taken into account in local decisions. (Sounds very different to how things work in Oz.)

0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Mar, 2010 04:54 pm
@aidan,
Quote:
I have no idea what Ms. Olga can do at her school - I only know what I could do at the schools I worked at which were public schools in Maine, New Jersey and North Carolina in the United States.

Everyone's role in a school is different. An Algebra teacher probably has less reason to touch one of his or her students at all than a first or second grade teacher has.

So if you're looking for a hard and fast rule in terms of who touches who and how - the only hard and fast rule I can give you is I would never punitively or sexually touch a student. Other than that - if a kid puts his arm around me for an end of the year picture or if I'm crossing the street with a third grader and he or she holds my hand - you know - whatever. It's not like I've ever felt like I might get arrested. I've just never worked in a school where there was that sort of climate of hysteria. Maybe some other people do -


Yes, I'd say pretty much the same here (in Oz) aidan.
Though "friendly touching" of adolescents (who I work with) is a different matter to little kids, isn't it?
Yesterday, in a moment of spontaneous fun in class, a boy did the knuckle contact thing with me (a bit like: hey, we're in agreement! (I think?) ) Of course I responded with reciprocal contact in a moment of fun. So it's not like absolutely no touching at all.
0 Replies
 
Mame
 
  2  
Reply Mon 1 Mar, 2010 05:25 pm
This is the kind of thing I was referring to:

Six-year-old boy suspended from school for...sexual harassment
by Charlene Prince Birkeland (Subscribe to Charlene Prince Birkeland's posts) Feb 9th 2006 4:29PM

Categories: Kids 5-7, Safety, Development

PrintEmail More
Blogging Baby tipster Thordora sent word that Associated Press reports a six-year-old boy in Brockton, Mass. was suspended from school for three days for sexually harassing a female classmate. School officials told the boy's mom, Berthena Dorinvil, that her son put two fingers inside a classmate's waistband. The boy, however, says he only touched the girl's shirt only after she did the same to him first. The suspension occured on January 30, and school officials won't provide any comments other than to say they invesitage all matters pertaining to sexual harrassment and are trained to deal with it.

Dorinvil is, of course outraged and told a local paper she couldn't even explain to her son what he did wrong: "He doesn't know those things...he's only 6 years old."

The Brockton School Committee defines sexual harassment among students as "uninvited physical contact such as touching, hugging, patting or pinching." While I could understand this definition with older students - who could actually say and understand the word harassment - first graders are still in the early stages of learning how to socialize and interact. When my son, Nolan, gets to preschool everyday one of the first things all the kids do - boys and girls - is give each other hugs and pats on the backs. These, of course, are always uninvited. But is it sexual harassment? No. As one child psychologist pointed out in the AP article, "The connotation is you're getting some kind of sexual gratification, or wanting sexual gratification, or are putting pressure on for some kind of sexual gratification, when a 6-year-old doesn't have that capacity."

I agree that it's not appropriate for kids to put their hands down their friend's waistbands, boy or girl. But instead of suspending the boy, couldn't the school have used this as opportunity to oh, I don't know, EDUCATE HIM? How hard would it have been to say "It's not okay to pull your classmate's shirt out or put your fingers inside her waistband. " Yes, discipline him. Make him stay inside from recess for three days. Talk to his parents, partner with them to help the boy understand that are appropriate ways to "touch" your friends. And even better, talk to the entire class about how we treat our friends with respect.

But to suspend a first grader from school for sexual harassment? Ridiculous.
~~~~

And there are many others.
Mame
 
  2  
Reply Mon 1 Mar, 2010 05:30 pm
@Mame,
Here's another one with more data: Sorry it's so long

For Little Children, Grown-Up Labels As Sexual Harassers

By Brigid Schulte
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, April 3, 2008
In his seven years, Randy Castro has been an aspiring soccer player, an accomplished Lego architect and a Royal Ranger at his Pentecostal church. He also, according to his elementary school record, sexually harassed a first-grade classmate.

THIS STORY
For Little Children, Grown-Up Labels As Sexual Harassers
Harassment Under the Law
Transcript: Grade-School Harassment
View All Items in This Story
During recess at his Woodbridge school one day in November, when he was 6, he said, he smacked the classmate's bottom. The girl told the teacher. The teacher took Randy to the principal, who told him such behavior was inappropriate. School officials wrote an incident report calling it "Sexual Touching Against Student, Offensive," which will remain on his student record permanently.

Then, as Randy sat in the principal's office, they called the police.

"I thought they were going to take me to prison," Randy said recently. "I was scared."

Prince William County school officials would not comment on Randy's case, citing student confidentiality. They said the call to police was the result of a misunderstanding.

Randy is only one of many children to be dealt with harshly as schools across the country grapple with enforcing new zero-tolerance sexual harassment policies and the fear of litigation.

The Virginia Department of Education reported that 255 elementary students were suspended last year for offensive sexual touching, or "improper physical contact against a student." In Maryland, 166 elementary school children were suspended last year for sexual harassment, including three preschoolers, 16 kindergartners and 22 first-graders, according to the State Department of Education. Statistics for the District were not available.

In 2006, a kindergartner in Hagerstown, Md., was accused of sexual harassment after pinching a female classmate's buttocks. A 4-year-old in Texas was given an in-school suspension after a teacher's aide accused him of sexual harassment for pressing his face into her breasts when he hugged her.

Ted Feinberg, assistant director of the National Association of School Psychologists in Bethesda, said he had never come across a case of sexual harassment in elementary school in his three decades in the schools. To label somebody a sexual harasser at 6 "doesn't make sense to me," he said. "Kids can be exploratory in behavior, they can mimic what they see on TV."

Randy sat on the lower bunk in his bedroom recently and explained what happened Nov. 26 on the playground at Potomac View Elementary School. Katherine DeLeon, a classmate who regularly came over to play, was kneeling on a bench, talking to friends. He said he saw another boy race over to the girl, whack her on the bottom and run away, giggling and pretending he hadn't done it. He did it twice more, Randy said.

Randy said he thought it looked like fun, so he joined in, hitting her and running away twice. "Every time he hit her, she laughed," Randy said. "When I hit her, she told the teacher."

Katherine's mother, Margarita DeLeon, who was contacted by school officials shortly after the incident, said that her daughter didn't like being hit but that she quickly forgot about it. "We didn't pay attention to it, because we know it's just children playing around," she said. "He didn't mean anything by it. I'm upset with the school."

Claudia Castro, a preschool teacher in Alexandria, said she was shocked when officials at Randy's school called to say that he was in trouble and that they were calling the police. She later met with the principal and assistant principal. "I told them that what he did was not appropriate. And I have talked to him about it. What I don't understand is how you can make a police report on a 6-year-old. But the principal told me that they were making reports to the police every single day."

THIS STORY
For Little Children, Grown-Up Labels As Sexual Harassers
Harassment Under the Law
Transcript: Grade-School Harassment
View All Items in This Story
The school's incident report, provided to The Washington Post by Randy's family, says the "police were contacted" after the playground episode. Police arrived after dismissal, when Randy had already gone home. Castro said she shared the story with The Post in the hope of changing school policy.

Days before the incident, at a routine meeting with district officials, principals had been reminded to report threats and assaults to the police. "There was some confusion as to what level of threat and assault we were talking about," said Ken Blackstone, a school system spokesman.

Some officials and students said Potomac View administrators made an announcement that a new district policy required them to inform the police of student misbehavior. But Blackstone said there was no new policy. After the meeting, he said, principals were confused about when to call police. "As a result, there were too many calls that may not have been necessary because of people wanting to comply with the initial request."

"Some of the calls," Prince William police spokeswoman Ericka Hernandez said, "were about incidents the police did not have to be involved in."

Blackstone pointed to the school district's code of behavior, which states that police may be called for "offenses involving weapons, alcohol/drugs, intentional injury, and other serious violations."

Two school board members declined to comment on the case, and Blackstone would not make the Potomac View principal available for comment.

Mary Kay Sommers, president of the National Association of Elementary School Principals, said suspensions and calls to the police in such cases are overkill. The correct response, she said, would be to explore whether the behavior is linked to abuse and to teach students about respecting peers and what constitutes "good touch" or "bad touch."

"There's no way these children understand what's going on. But it's been taken out of our hands. That's the difficult moral dilemma that we face," Sommers said. She blamed two Supreme Court decisions from the 1990s that enable suits against school districts for failing to stop sexual harassment as well as zero-tolerance policies aimed at middle and high school students that are applied to students as young as 5.

"We need to make sure that we follow the letter of the law, so being reasonable sometimes gets lost," she said.

But Ronald Stephens, executive director of the National School Safety Center, said educators do have some leeway: "Zero tolerance does not mean zero good judgment."

Since November, Randy has been calling himself a "bad boy," his mother said.

Castro said school officials rejected her appeal to remove the sexual harassment incident from Randy's permanent file. And now she worries that they have branded him a troublemaker.

She points to an incident in January when Randy was suspended for three days for verbal "harassment" and inappropriate behavior. According to the principal's incident report, as Randy walked home from school, he told two girls to kiss and asked another student, "Are you gay?" and "Why are you wearing girl's boots?"

Randy and his siblings, who were walking with him that day, dispute the account. They said he teased an older boy and girl about kissing. He said if the boy didn't kiss the girl, it meant he was gay. Randy said he learned the word on TV.

School officials, citing confidentiality, declined to comment on the incident.

Castro agreed that Randy's behavior was inappropriate but worried that he is being too severely scrutinized because of the spanking incident. "My feeling is that they are picking on him," she said.

Castro said she met again with school officials and asked why, if they were concerned about Randy, he wasn't in counseling. "The counselor told me he didn't need it," she said.

msolga
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Mar, 2010 05:37 pm
@Mame,
Quote:
But to suspend a first grader from school for sexual harassment? Ridiculous.
~~~~

And there are many others.


I hope that "incident" didn't make it's way into the local paper as a "news story". Crikey.
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Mar, 2010 05:43 pm
@msolga,
Yeah, I think it did. Probably names weren't mentioned, but I think AP reported it.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Mar, 2010 05:51 pm
@Mame,
Well (thinking it over) I guess it is rather newsworthy that a first grader is suspended for sexual harassment? Maybe a first?
What strange times we live in!
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Mar, 2010 06:04 pm
@msolga,
Seems to happen in the US concerningly regularly.

I have not heard of it happening here, but human stupidity knows no bounds.
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Mar, 2010 12:48 am
@Mame,
Gosh. This is pretty amazing, too!
Not school action this time, but a pretty severe punishment from an incident which happened in a school environment. From an Oz newspaper today.

Quote:
Teenager facing deportation after fight
March 2, 2010 - 3:10PM/Sydney Morning Herald/au

http://images.smh.com.au/2010/03/02/1186090/lead-family-420x0.jpg
Tracey Washington with her 5-year-old son and husband Charles.

An Australian woman and her 13-year-old son are set to be deported from the US on Friday after the child was charged with punching a classmate and taking 46 cents from him.

Tracey Washington and her son, who has not been identified, moved to San Francisco last year when she married an American man, Charles Washington.

But now their family is set to be torn apart in a case that US immigrants’ rights advocates say highlights the human consequences of San Francisco’s deportation crackdown.

"I feel like they’ve taken my right to have a family," Mr Washington, a 42-year-old bus driver, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

‘‘They used our son as bait, just to get the mother to come in.’’

The Washingtons held a press conference in San Francisco today in a last-ditch effort to keep their family together.

Under a policy introduced in 2008, authorities must hand to immigration any minor arrested for a felony and suspected of being in the country illegally.

Mrs Washington’s son reportedly hit another student during an after-school program in January and took 46 cents from him.

Attorney Angela Chan of the Asian Law Caucus - which is which is providing immigration legal services to the family - said the punch was a joke, the other boy was unhurt and the 13-year-old apologised.

However the other boy’s parents contacted police, who charged the 13-year-old with assault, extortion and robbery.

Chan said a juvenile court judge normally would reduce the charges for a first-time offender in such an incident and place the youth on probation.

But the case never reached court because city juvenile authorities referred the boy to immigration authorities, as required under the new policy.

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement authorities then ordered the deportation of Mrs Washington and her son. Also accompanying them will be Mrs Washington’s other son, aged five. ...<cont>


http://www.smh.com.au/world/teenager-facing-deportation-after-fight-20100302-pf4i.html
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Mar, 2010 12:54 am
@msolga,
Whoops. Sorry. I think that's straying rather a bit from the intended discussion of this thread.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Mar, 2010 01:41 am
@msolga,
Er...but presumably the mother is an illegal immigrant herself????????
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Mar, 2010 01:45 am
@dlowan,
Perhaps she is. I don't know.
But she appears to be married to a US citizen? I would have thought that counted for something?

(I'm a bit concerned about diverting this thread. All my fault.)
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Mar, 2010 02:00 am
@msolga,
Yes...but:
Quote:
Mrs Washington, who now must wear a federal electronic monitoring bracelet, and her children arrived in the US in February 2009 on a 90-day visa-waiver, and the Washingtons were married in April the same year.

However they missed a 90-day deadline to apply for legal residency.

Mr Washington said they waited until December to apply for her green card and legal residence because the application cost several thousand dollars, and a federal immigration office told them there was no filing deadline.

But he said officials then refused to consider the application because it was filed more than 90 days after his wife entered the US.



Bureaucracies tend not to care about sad.


(Hits self in face for de-railing thread.)
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Mar, 2010 02:02 am
@dlowan,
Ah. I see.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Mar, 2010 02:13 am
@msolga,
(pokes self in eye for thread derailment. Sorry, sorry!)
0 Replies
 
 

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