1st Grade Harassers

Thank goodness for the swift disciplinary action taken by administrators at a Colorado elementary school!  A six year old boy kissed the girl on whom he has a crush!  His mom said that the girl had feelings for her son.  But the girl’s mom said it was unwanted.    

So the administrators labeled the act “sexual harassment” until public criticism.  Now the act is labeled “misconduct.” 

Sexual harassment is “unwanted” severe or pervasive behavior based on sex.  Perhaps the administrators knew that under California law, as of 2014 sex harassment need not be motivated by a sexual desire.  But can a six year old even think that way?  I’m not sure informing a six year old he is a sexual harasser is the correct way of handling the situation.  How about telling him, “She doesn’t want you to touch her, and that includes kissing.  Can you stop before you get into trouble”?  Or was that too soft? 

The boy is quoted as saying, “They sent me to the office, fair and square. I did something wrong, and I feel sorry."  Sounds like he got the message!   

They All Look Like Mary Poppins

Years ago I participated in a deposition of a sexual harassment plaintiff.  She claimed to be a victim of unwanted sexual banter.  The defendants did not deny the banter.  They contended that the plaintiff participated in the banter as well.  They said she not only participated but initiated the banter.  Plaintiff denied it.  

The plaintiff made a good visual impression.  She was demure and soft-spoken.  Her hair was up.  She wore a dress with a very modest collar buttoned to the top.  Her make-up was modest.  She wore glasses.  And the sleeves and length of the dress covered her arms and legs to the knees.  

She he reminded me of Mary Poppins.  

Since then I have discovered that all sex harassment plaintiffs look like this.  They try to convince the jurors that they are sweet and innocence, just like Mary Poppins.  

i thought of this as I read the news article about the Brisn Calhoun criminal trial.  A Fresno City College student cursed at him.  He grabbed her.  She punched him, making him bleed.  Today witnesses testified he took her to the ground.  You can read about it here, as well as see a photo or two.  http://www.fresnobee.com/2013/10/10/3546533/fresno-city-college-students...

To see the photo, it would be difficult to think that the student would curse or punch a 60 year old man, even a grumpy one.  But this is the look. 

Sex harassment is never justifiable.  However, sometimes the behaviors are not harassing because the plaintiff is a willing participant in the sexual banter and activities.  It is only after something negative happens to the employee that she contends the banter was really unwelcome.  And to make her case look good, she claims something like, "I played along because I was scared of losing my job."  

It's the look of Mary Poppins that you fight.  

By the way, the Mary Poppins of that deposition so many years ago told the men at the office how she learned to castrate sheep without a knife.  (She was an Ag student at College of the Sequoias.). She used her teeth.  She was no Mary Poppins.