A 9-year-old boy may be facing legal action. His offense? A series of love notes to a classmate.
While the child’s mother claims the notes were sweet and innocent, the school district alleges that they were unwanted.
Yahoo! News quotes a passage from one of the notes, “I like your eyes because they sparkle like diamonds.” Another line says “I like you” written inside a heart.
When fellow students learned of the schoolyard crush they began teasing the boy about wanting to see the girl naked.
“That’s when the principal proceeded to tell me that it wasn’t appropriate that he was writing the note and that if he writes another note…they are going to file sexual harassment charges on my 9-year-old” the boy’s mother told WPTV.
“What little kid doesn’t write love notes?” she added.
According to WPTV, Hillsborough schools have policies against passing notes in class as they cause disruptions to learning like this one.
Kristi Davisson is an attorney with children in the Hillsborough School District. She told Yahoo!, “I’m disappointed that the authorities chose to take such a heavy handed approach, if, in fact, they did. I’d be surprised if any law enforcement officer or prosecutor’s office would take legal action.”
“The district has had a huge push to stop bullying,” Davisson continued. “Now they may have allowed this child to become a victim of it.”
While cases of bullying and sexual harassment have always existed in schools, recent years have seen a dramatic rise in awareness of and action against these issues.
According to a study done by Girls for Gender Equity (GGE), 66 percent of girls ages 11 to 18 they surveyed reported being sexually harassed at school. Furthermore, one in four reported that this harassment was daily.
Joanne Smith is executive director of GGE. She told Newsweek last year that, “We need to have more conversations about sexual harassment in schools…Because sexual harassment is on the spectrum of gender-based violence and can be a precursor that escalates to rape or even murder.”
But as the boy’s mother told WPTV, “My 9-year-old doesn’t even know what sexual harassment means.”