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Old 09-09-2014, 02:27 AM
 
Location: Finland
6,319 posts, read 5,221,841 times
Reputation: 10153

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Boys (well girls too) at that age are lewd, so don't blame yourself, if he didn't get it from the film he would have got it from his friends. Sounds like he knew he did wrong, didn't try and wriggle his way out of it or anything - you've got a good kid there.
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Old 09-09-2014, 05:48 AM
 
Location: Wisconsin
16,468 posts, read 15,905,878 times
Reputation: 38730
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattie View Post
Eh, I wouldn't get too upset about it, now that he understands he was wrong and isn't trying to wiggle out of it. It won't ruin his future.

No sense in making it too pleasant to be home though. I'd go with an electronic lockdown, and some extra chores and reading.

ETA: A 4 day suspension sounds pretty harsh under the circumstances.
I agree that the suspension should NOT mean "fun and games" at home.

Quote:
Originally Posted by North Beach Person View Post
In my system the suspension is 10 days with mandatory sexual harassment counseling prior to readmission.
Different districts have different penalties depending on many factors.

It your district said four days then that is what their penalty is for that level of problem.
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Old 09-09-2014, 07:30 AM
 
Location: Texas
596 posts, read 474,978 times
Reputation: 1810
4 days seem harsh for a first time offense. As for what he did, of course there's no place for it at school but the "showing off" seems very typical. Teaching is my profession so I've seen it all. If I was a teacher and witnessed it 1st hand, I would give the kid a good talking to and then called the parents - nothing more.

I wouldn't overreact. But do make sure that the four days off are not four days off. He seems like a good kid.
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Old 09-09-2014, 08:23 AM
 
Location: Colorado
9,734 posts, read 6,265,376 times
Reputation: 17549
The four days off are absolutely NOT four days off. We are fortunate that at this time my husband is not working, and is home the whole time to make sure he stays busy. He's got schoolwork we're picking up that he'll be doing, as well as a bunch of household chores (today he gets to pull weeds. There are many, many weeds along our fenceline. It will be a workout.) I'm a firm believer that hard work builds character.

The fact that he DID "man up" and take full responsibility, and didn't try to wiggle out of it or blame others does count for a lot however, and although he remains on electronics lockdown and cannot meet with friends, we are letting him ride his bike around the block and shoot hoops in front of the house for a couple of hours before dinner IF he works to his full potential for Dad during the day. Attempts at slacking will affect this however.

The gesture itself is both lewd and disgusting but it's one that I've seen teenage boys and grown men use--among themselves when they are being guys in a group of guys, not in polite company. It's that mimicry of masturbation that effectively dismisses something as unimportant. His Dad was in the Army and I'm raising two teenage sons...gross humor, body humor, sexual humor, these things are just something I've gotten used to. I'm the only female in the house and I'm no delicate flower. But there is a time and a place, and THAT is the key thing to learn as far as I'm concerned. I don't expect I can tell a 12/13 year old boy to stop being gross. I do expect him to control himself as to the when and where. And at this age he's still working out social boundaries and figuring this stuff out. He isn't so much the class clown as he is kind of a nerdy smart kid who doesn't have a ton of friends or slick social skills, so if he hits on something that gets a laugh, he will do it again for the positive feedback. But he cares about the opinions of the teachers, too, and gets along with them, and when he found out he'd offended his teacher he was genuinely ashamed and sorry. He just wasn't thinking past the reaction from the other boys. She apparently did not see it happen, just one of the other kids told her.

And that's kind of where my politics come in. The school is preparing kids for the hypersensitive world of, say, a semiformal office environment, where everyone has a head loaded with sensitivity training and you don't dare step wrong for fear of being sued. When you grow up, you can work in such a place and not need to make friends or goof off, you're there to work. One would think that school is similar...but for most kids it's also the primary social conditioning space jam packed with their peers. They are trying to figure out the parameters of behavior "among the guys" in this setting as well. At this age, I expect some blunders on account of the role confusion. And too, anyone who thinks a bunch of pubescent boys are supposed to be angelic and sexless is delusional in my opinion. So while I agree with the handling of it as wrong and punishable, and don't even argue with the suspension...I hate the words "sexual harrassment" tacked onto the forms, and feel as though it's an attempt to overly sensationalize the incident and be shocking and "super serious." Treating childhood behavior like adult crime in today's schools, in the way that a poptart chewed into a gun shape and a "bang" is some kind of attempt at terrorism or assault. There is that tiny bit of my mind saying "Give. Me. A. Break." But while my husband and I have discussed that amongst ourselves, I'm not sharing that thought with my son.
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Old 09-09-2014, 08:30 AM
 
Location: South Florida
637 posts, read 1,009,443 times
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Not condoning his behavior but a four day suspension is harsh for an otherwise good kid with no "priors". Is it within the guidelines of your school district?

My daughter was the victim of a similar incident in 6th grade. They didn't mean to offend her with what started as a lewd joke but it got way out of hand thanks to a lazy substitute teacher. I reported it because my daughter was pretty upset when I picked her up that day and it also raised questions of how much supervision the kids were under.

The school responded by sending the guidance counselor to each class and spending a class period going over what sexual harassment is, how it counts even if you're joking or mean no harm etc.. The boys involved were spoken to individually and their parents were notified but there was no direct action against them. Though I was disgusted by the behavior, it did seem to me that the school's response was appropriate given this was in the first few months of middle school. They could have been suspended, but I was satisfied that the school's first choice was to educate them and document the incident. I believe the teacher actually faced worse repercussions.I don't know how it works but I think he was removed from the sub pool they used.

It might not be a bad idea to have your son write a little note to the teacher along the lines of him not realizing he was or intending to be offensive to her but now that he understands that he was, he's really sorry.
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Old 09-09-2014, 08:53 AM
 
Location: Colorado
9,734 posts, read 6,265,376 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragonmam View Post
Not condoning his behavior but a four day suspension is harsh for an otherwise good kid with no "priors". Is it within the guidelines of your school district?

My daughter was the victim of a similar incident in 6th grade. They didn't mean to offend her with what started as a lewd joke but it got way out of hand thanks to a lazy substitute teacher. I reported it because my daughter was pretty upset when I picked her up that day and it also raised questions of how much supervision the kids were under.

The school responded by sending the guidance counselor to each class and spending a class period going over what sexual harassment is, how it counts even if you're joking or mean no harm etc.. The boys involved were spoken to individually and their parents were notified but there was no direct action against them. Though I was disgusted by the behavior, it did seem to me that the school's response was appropriate given this was in the first few months of middle school. They could have been suspended, but I was satisfied that the school's first choice was to educate them and document the incident. I believe the teacher actually faced worse repercussions.I don't know how it works but I think he was removed from the sub pool they used.

It might not be a bad idea to have your son write a little note to the teacher along the lines of him not realizing he was or intending to be offensive to her but now that he understands that he was, he's really sorry.
I think that the Dean of Students was prepared for me to challenge the sentence (which I didn't, even a little) when he said on our phone call that they "COULD HAVE" requested a longer suspension from the District for this incident. He also repeatedly stated (twice) on the phone that my son made a SEXUAL gesture at a FEMALE teacher. In my mind, it was a piece of disrespect regardless of who saw it, or the gender of the teacher! It would be completely unacceptable if the teacher had been male, too! Whatever. He had no prior behavior like this, although in previous years he's been called on the carpet for not following directions or talking in class once in a while. Nothing like this. He's got great grades across the board and is overachieving himself silly in Band and Orchestra (he's learning viola, alto sax, baritone sax, and guitar this year)... He made a mistake and he's dealing with the consequences. Good call on the apology letter and we're on that, too. He'll be writing one to be handed off by the end of the week. A big part of that is that he really feels awful about what his teacher might be thinking of him now, and wants to express how sorry he is and that he didn't mean to offend her. I hope she is understanding. It's not something he'll do again, I'm sure of that much.

Like I said it just irks me that they're using the same language for things like this, as they use for bosses who try to grope interns. Labels annoy me. I don't want such a label attached to my kid for something so stupid, wrong though it was. Y'know?
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Old 09-09-2014, 09:02 AM
 
28,411 posts, read 14,121,326 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonic_Spork View Post
He's about to turn 13 and he was making lewd gestures among a group of other boys, trying to get laughs and make friends
That's what many 13-year-olds do. Suspending him for the rest of the week is like using a bazooka to scare off a squirrel. I can see detention or MAYBE a single day of suspension, but the rest of the week is overkill. It's draconian zero tolerance BS.

BTW, it's very admirable of you to look so objectively at the situation and take into account your possible role with the movie. You seem to be one of the "good" parents who don't try to either dismiss it "oh, not my little angel" or pawn it off as the teacher's responsibility.

Quote:
Originally Posted by North Beach Person View Post
In my system the suspension is 10 days with mandatory sexual harassment counseling prior to readmission.
What, no caning or stockade?

If I lived in your school district, I'd be running for the school board as the "common sense non-idiot" candidate.
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Old 09-09-2014, 09:06 AM
 
5,808 posts, read 3,295,904 times
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Even though this type of behavior may be common among boys this age and some kinds of grown men, it is never considered acceptable in circles which most people would aspire to. You are probably experiencing the beginning of a sort of "separation" which often takes place between different groups of kids at around this age. It sounds like he is trying to impress the wrong type of kids for him and his life path. By high school the differences among them will be even more pronounced, and you'll be proud to have the son you have instead of some of the others.
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Old 09-09-2014, 09:23 AM
 
141 posts, read 156,224 times
Reputation: 143
Make sure you take him somewhere nice during the suspension.
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Old 09-09-2014, 09:27 AM
 
Location: Colorado
9,734 posts, read 6,265,376 times
Reputation: 17549
Quote:
Originally Posted by PedroMartinez View Post
That's what many 13-year-olds do. Suspending him for the rest of the week is like using a bazooka to scare off a squirrel. I can see detention or MAYBE a single day of suspension, but the rest of the week is overkill. It's draconian zero tolerance BS.

BTW, it's very admirable of you to look so objectively at the situation and take into account your possible role with the movie. You seem to be one of the "good" parents who don't try to either dismiss it "oh, not my little angel" or pawn it off as the teacher's responsibility.



What, no caning or stockade?

If I lived in your school district, I'd be running for the school board as the "common sense non-idiot" candidate.

Yeah, like I said...I don't think it was shockingly abnormal, in context of adolescent humor. Just a poor choice of place and time. These are learning experiences. He's gotta learn. In the real world, you DO have to kinda watch out for people who get all bent and offended at the drop of a hat. You have to save this kind of goofing off for when your guy friends are at your house, or you're together at the bar shooting pool, or that kind of stuff. Live and learn...

Oh, and I have never been of the mind that my kids are "angels." They're human...we're working very hard, my husband and I, to raise "good men." Men who stand up in defense of themselves and others when it's the right thing to do, men who know right from wrong, and men who at least grasp basic social manners. My boys know better than to act the fool when we go out together to stores or restaurants or whatever. They've both got good manners in many settings. But I'm realistic about the things they are likely to say and do in other circumstances also, and I expect stumbles and mistakes along the way. And nearly everything is a teachable moment. So with regard to the movie we watched....the message between my boy and I is, "I trusted you with the responsibility of these concepts and ideas, that you would know not to go to school and spout them, and you've disappointed me. I may have made a mistake in judgment of your maturity with this." It was part of our discussions. But I'm definitely glad he is taking responsibility for his error. Accountability is a major thing we work to teach them as well.
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