Saturday, February 26, 2011

Sexual Harassment, Really???

I woke up to all zeros on my computer screen when I checked my bank cards online; a sign of a not good day.  After the boys went off to school, I got back in the bed for my after-the-boys-leave nap.  As usual my sleep was invaded by a dream.  In the dream, I had to put my hands on Fourteen Year Old.  The last time I dreamed he was in trouble at school, he was.  He wasn't at school this time, he had actually come back home in my dream and I was getting on him about not going to school.  If only he had stayed home in real life.  Calling my bank card's 1-800 number, I was relieved to know that there was a scheduled direct deposit for the day.  That's all I needed to hear to ease my day, but before I could get off the phone with my good news, my cell phone starts ringing.  I'm still on the computer's Magic Jack phone and so my fiance' answers the cell phone.  I look over at him and he mouths, "It's the school."  "Oh Gawd, not again," I say to myself.  After getting off my happy call, I dial the school back up; it's the Principal's direct dial.  I'm not going to even type out the dialogue cause I just don't want to, but the gist of the conversation is that Fourteen Year Old is cutting up in class.  I have to come up and sit with him or take him home.  Now doesn't that sound like some kindergartner #@$%.

So I get dressed and have already let the principal know that I don't have time to come up and babysit a fourteen year old, so there's probably going to be some corporal punishment, for sure.  He told me to come on up.  After I get there, I walk through the halls like I'm going to war; I am, I am waring against my teenage son acting like he doesn't have any home training.  So I walk into his classroom and motion for him to follow me.  Everybody knows me and knows that I am a no-nonsense kind of mom, so they already know that if I'm up there, I mean business.  My son's crime was "joning" with another classmate.  If you don't know what joning is, it's when they talk about each other or relatives.  In this case the other party to the joning session was a girl who has "issues".  At least that's what the Principal told me when I caught up with him after I slapped my son around a few seconds to see if I could get him to understand the seriousness of my time.  Even though I quit my job six years ago so that I could be contacted on a dime's notice when there was a problem with any of my children at school, I still didn't want to keep running up there because he couldn't keep his mouth shut.  My son said that the girl started it and he finished it.  Finished it to the point that despite the principal telling him to settle down, he did not, thus the phone call to mommy. 

Okay, so this young lady has "issues," so does my son.  As not to divulge too much information about him, I'll just say that the school put a label on him when he was in the first grade that has followed him to this day.  My child is quite bright/intelligent when he wants to be, but sometimes he snaps when he's provoked.  They wanted to put him on Ritalin, but no can do.  I was not going to have my son reduced to a zombie in school because he was hyper-active.  At any rate, there are a lot of kids with "issues" at that school and my son wants to know why is it okay for someone to start something with him and when he takes it to another level, he's the one who gets in trouble?  I understand his question because I have the same question rolling around in my head.  So if a child has "issues" or is "special" and they hit or provoke another student, the other student is supposed to take into consideration that "Oh, they have issues so I have to let them do what they do to me?"  I don't think any fourteen year old or anyone older or younger should have to put up with someone else cause they're special.

So I ask my son do I need to take him home or is he going to be okay for the rest of the day.  I warned him that if I have to come back up, it's not going to be pretty.  He assured me that he would keep his mouth shut, especially if a person who has "issues" says something to him.  I felt like he meant it.  So I tell him that I will see him around 2:50 p.m. because he and his brother have a doctor's appointment to get the second of three shots they need.  I told him to be good and I'll see him later.  That was that.

Fast forward to 2:50 p.m. and I'm walking through the metal detectors of the school.  The security staff doesn't even wand me like they normally do and they're all saying, "Go on baby," sympathetically, like a grandma would say.  So I go to the office to request my son be dismissed for early dismissal.  They get on the two-way radio thingy and ask that someone escort him down to the office from room "whatever."  The security peeps tell me that he's not in room "whatever," he's in the Principal's office and he's been in there for a while.  What in the world?  I thought I left him in good shape. 

I get upstairs and walk into the Principal's office and my son says, "Momma, they trying to say that I sexually harassed a girl."  I'm like, "What?"  The Principal tells me that this girl came to him crying saying that my son has been bothering her for a week.  A week, are you serious?  So you wait a whole week to tell that someone has been bothering you, sexually harassing you at that?  I don't get too excited because I want to hear the whole story so that I can see what's the deal.  I'm going to school for a Criminal Justice degree so that I can help wayward children and at this moment, it's time for me to utilize my twelve months of schooling.  I sit and listen to my son's version.  He doesn't stutter and vehemently says he didn't do anything to that girl; said he didn't even really know her.  The girl's story is that he's been harassing her in the hall; I'm still trying to see where the sexually harassing comes in.  My son said that two of his buddies told him that they inappropriately touched the girl and she didn't have a pleasant smell.  My son says that he laughed.  What else is a fourteen year old supposed to do.  The girl never mentions the buddies, but my son figured since he's getting in trouble for something he didn't do, he's squealing on everybody.  Fourteen Year Old says that he walked into a class that the girl was leaving out and the class smelled musty, so he blurted out, "It stinks in here."  He said he never even said a word to her, just that it stunk in the class.  I can hear him myself.  He has no problem pointing out any one's body odor. 

The girl, thinking he's talking about him, goes to the principal and says that he's been sexually harassing her for about a week; around the time that his buddies disclosed to him what had taken place outside of the school grounds.  I'm still waiting for the sexual harassment part.  One observer of the girl's "performance" in the Principal's office is that you would have thought MY son had touched her or raped her.  Obviously he wasn't buying her story.  Long story short, they wanted to get me up there as soon as possible before the girl's mother arrived since they know that I would be there in case my son needed me.  After listening to everything, here's what I've come up with.  The girl, out of embarrassment for what the buddies were spreading around about her, needed a scapegoat and since my son wasn't involved in the initial "tampering" of the goods, she wanted to take the spotlight off of herself and put it on him since he was now privy to what had taken place.  That's just my perception of everything.  I'm still trying to figure out what the sexual harassment is.  Did my son say something inappropriate to her about what he heard?  He said he didn't, he wouldn't do that to her, he doesn't even know her.  Do I believe him?  Not sure.  All I know is, if those guys were touching that girl in her southern regions and my son laughed about it or even said something to her about it, is that really sexual harassment?  That's such a serious term.  Unfortunately, my son has been suspended for five days so that the school can cover their butts as to taking care of the situation.  I'm not upset about that, but what I am upset about is the fact that they are taking this girl's word over my son's and there are deeper issues that aren't being addressed.  Those boys told my son what they did to that girl, is no one concerned about that?  I am. 

I'm going up to the school on Monday morning to pick up a homework package so that my son won't fall behind.  The Principal said that he's supposed to be meeting with the girl's mother to find out what she wants to do about my son.  If the girl says she just wants my son to leave her alone, then everything is squashed and my son will only have to serve three days of suspension.  If the mother presses charges, then they'll contact me.  They won't have to contact me, I'll already be up there.  Being accused of sexual harassment at the age of fourteen is a serious offense and I'm not sure if what he did was indeed sexual harassment and I'm not going to rest until I find out exactly what's going on.  I'm not sure if they were trying to scare my son into maturity, but he's only fourteen, how many of us were mature at that age?  Threatening him with jail time because he repeated what he had heard to a girl is a bit extreme, if that's what happened, but we are living in extreme times where you can get into trouble for something that, back in the day, would be considered teasing.  Where's my home schooling packet at?  Until next time..."Live your life by loving yourself."