UPDATE: The school district has denied the details of the incident as reported in the article I linked and here. I am attempting to investigate further, but if I don’t get any further confirmation of the facts as they have been presented, I will remove the post.
By Sandy . . . “That just has to be all.” One of NARSOL’s board members is fond of saying that when something has occurred that seems outlandish or over the top. What he means, of course, is this is as ridiculous as it gets; nothing can top this.
And then a week later, he will say it again because something even more outlandish and over the top has occurred. I have lost count of the number of times something has been declared to be “all” only to be replaced by something even more “all” in a month or a week — or a day.
But this time I am saying it, and this time, it really does have to be all.
The headline says, “5-year-old autistic boy ‘put on record as sex offender’ by school for hugging classmate and kissing another on the cheek.” Initially, knowing the media’s propensity for hyperbole, especially when the term “sex offender” can be used, I assumed there was more to the story. Surely he had an older accomplice who was running the show. Surely he held a gun to someone and forced them to disrobe. Surely … But then my “get real” side told my Pollyanna side to stop the nonsense, that there was nothing a five-year-old could do, especially an autistic five-year-old, that would justify using the term “sex offender” in describing him.
And there doesn’t seem to be more to the story. Apparently, unlike many autistic children who don’t want to be touched, he is a hugger. He feels and shows affection. He hugged one classmate and kissed another on the cheek. Classmates. Other five-year-olds.
In what obscene, perverse world are these actions by any five-year-old determined to have a sexual motivation? In what sick, twisted world would a teacher of five-year-olds, someone hopefully trained in early childhood education, someone who hopefully understands the impulsiveness of five-year-olds and the total lack of sexual predation in five-year-olds, feel compelled to notify school authorities, who then notified child services — child services!
And then my “get real” side totally took over and kicked Pollyanna’s butt out the door.
Oh yeah. The world that created sexual offense registries and put them out for all to see. The world that decided that young teenagers should be charged with child pornography for taking videos of their own naked selves. The world that decided that it was right, fitting, and proper for a teenager to be put on a sex offender registry for reciprocal sex with his teenage girlfriend and then kept on it until he died even though they married, had children, and raised their family together.
Oh yeah. That world.
Sandy, a NARSOL board member, is communications director for NARSOL, editor-in-chief of the Digest, and a writer for the Digest and the NARSOL website. Additionally, she participates in updating and managing the website and assisting with a variety of organizational tasks.