The Columbia Critic

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Monday, March 27, 2006

Newsflash: Many school administrators are still *bleep*ing idiots

Boy, 8, accused of sexual harassment
BETH STALLINGS, Morning Journal 03/25/2006

LORAIN -- Lorain school officials this week executed an ''emergency removal'' of an 8-year-old boy who they say sexually harassed a girl in gym class.

The boy's mother, Tammy Barth, said yesterday her son was playing in gym on Tuesday when a girl student said he and two other boys may have grabbed her buttocks.

He was then questioned in an informal hearing by school officials and he admitted he had been passing love notes to the same girl.

The second-grader then asked to sign a notice of emergency removal form for sexual harassment without a parent present, Barth said. The boy printed his first name on the portion of the form asking for his signature.

School documents provided by Barth and the boy's father, Frank Johnson, did not give specifics on the incident but showed that the second-grader was removed from school on Tuesday for ''sexual harassment during gym.'' It also states the student ''admits to writing notes saying ÔI love you' and giving them to a student.''

''It's an embarrassment to me and it's an embarrassment to him because he doesn't understand what's going on,'' Barth said.

Lorain schools spokesman Dean Schnurr confirmed yesterday that a student was sent home on an ''emergency removal'' for inappropriate actions. Schnurr insisted that his removal was a minor, precautionary action.

''It's not a disciplinary action,'' Schnurr said yesterday, adding the allegation will not be placed in the student's permanent record. ''We don't want to put something in the permanent record of a youngster who may not understand what they did wrong.

''He admitted to what he was being accused of,'' Schnurr said, unable to give specifics but said they were ''inappropriate'' in nature.

However, the student's mother said the school assumed her son touched the girl because he had written her a love letter a few weeks ago.

''Apparently, they had to treat it as sexual harassment,'' Barth said, adding the girl has been friends with her son for a long time. ''And then he was given a day off of school because of passing notes that say ÔI love you.'''

Johnson said the incident was harmless and referring to it as sexual harassment is what was ''inappropriate.'''

''Little kids are going to do stupid things like that,'' he said of his son passing love letters.

The student was temporarily removed from school for a day, March 23, and instructed to come back to school on March 24 with a parent.

''It's our job to teach students at a young age that inappropriate behavior is unacceptable,'' Schnurr said. ''The student did something wrong, admitted he did something wrong and received the proper discipline.''

He added it is unfortunate that this discipline is not emphasized at the student's home.

The second-grader's parents are still wondering how to discipline their son because they are not sure of what he did wrong. Barth said being reprimanded for passing love notes to another student is not and should not be a disciplinary matter.

Johnson said his son has had a difficult time with the whole ordeal.

''He started crying and he thinks he did something wrong (by passing a love letter),'' Johnson said. ''He's a good kid and he's very, very shy. And now he's emotionally distraught.''

Barth and Johnson are planning to remove their two children from Frank Jacinto, and the Lorain School system altogether, sometime next week and enroll them in the Clearview Schools District. She said she and Johnson are also looking into taking civil action against the school.

All four of her children are honor roll students, she said, adding that any school system would be happy to take them.

''I want them out of there before (the school system) does some damage.


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