I read about a child--a baby, really, six--suspended from school for sexual harassment after he kissed a little girl in his class on the hand. Yes, he had apparently given her attention before, and some indications are it was unwanted attention, and correction of behavior may well have been warranted, but SEXUAL HARASSMENT at six?
The school has apparently removed that specific language from his record after an outcry that swept almost from shore to shore.
Thank God we are still out-crying against something.
I remember being on the playground during recess when I was probably eight. The girls were all together on the ground playing jacks, and the boys were across the way playing--whatever boys played. One little boy left the herd, swooped into the girl group, reached down and planted a very loud kiss on the cheek of the girl next to me, and raced back to his group amid the laughter of everyone. The group of teachers watching our play laughed the loudest. That was before the world went mad.
We do not outcry when legislators sell communities on the idea of 1000 feet residency and presence restrictive zones around schools, parks, libraries, and "any other place children congregate." There could not be a legislator alive who has not at least been told of the huge body of research and scholarly work showing these restrictions to be not only ineffective and having no correlation with improved public safety but also resulting in negative consequences that actually decrease public safety.
Politicians like to call these "unexpected consequences," but how can they be unexpected when they are as predictable as a hand put on a hot stove getting burned? And just as predictable is that anyone who attempts an outcry will be drowned out by strident ignorance making accusations of "child molester" against the few, weak voices.
Missing also is the outcry that should be heard as a massive roar after a state has "fallen" to the federal government's propaganda machine designed to "sell" the Adam Walsh Act. This has just occurred fully in Nevada, one of seventeen states to be so persuaded. Though being "reasonably compliant" for several years now, Nevada's Supreme Court has, reluctantly, forced Nevada into the final step--and that should be said in the same tone as the final solution.
Several things should cause an outcry when any state adopts AWA: the realization that the federal money "saved" by not having it taken away is but a drop in the bucket to what it will cost to maintain the increased number of public registrants and everything the AWA requires; the anticipation of, with so many more people on the public registry, an increase in the instances of violence against registrants will occur, simply because they are so labeled; and, most onerous, registrants who have lived in peace for twenty years or more with a risk level of I, not requiring public notification, people who have never re-offended and have build decent and productive lives, are suddenly reassigned to Levels II or III based on nothing but the type of classification system the AWA requires, one that most experts say is the least effective. It usually doesn't take more than a year or two before the lives of these people and their families are destroyed.
But the greatest outcry should come over what Nevada is now facing. AWA requires that all persons who committed sexual offenses against children--anyone below sixteen-when they themselves were as young as fourteen, going all the way back to 1956, be subject to public registration.
Nevada, like many states who resist AWA compliance, has successfully followed research and expert recommendations in treating juvenile offenders "more like patients than prisoners." That approach will no longer be allowed; a fourteen year old who gives another fourteen year old an inappropriate touch and is charged with sexual battery will be a felon, on the public registry, with his life in ruins. Where is the outcry?
And in another two or three years, when a politician manages to convince the public that even consensual sexual activity with someone under sixteen, even if the partner is also under sixteen, is a criminal, registerable offense, will there be an outcry then?
If that were happening in the world of today, would he be arrested on the spot and charged with sexual battery and required to register as a sexual offender?
And would there be any outcry?