Mark Steyn goes off on the latest craze in education: labeling pre-schoolers and very young children as "perverts" and sex offenders by "school officials". As always, it is worth reading the entire piece as Steyn dismantles the so-called adults making these decisions.
Is American public education a form of child abuse? The Washington Post's Brigid Schulte reported this month on a student named Randy Castro, who attends school in Woodbridge, Va. Last November at recess he slapped a classmate on her bottom. The teacher took him to the principal. School officials wrote up an incident report and then called the police.
Randy Castro is in the first grade. But, at the ripe old age of 6, he's been declared a sex offender by Potomac View Elementary School. He's guilty of sexual harassment, and the incident report will remain on his record for the rest of his school days – and maybe beyond.
Maybe it'll be one of those things that just keeps turning up on background checks forever and ever: Perhaps 34-year-old Randy Castro will apply for a job, and at his prospective employer's computer up will pop his sexual-harasser status yet again. Or maybe he'll be able to keep it hushed up until he's 57 and runs for governor of Virginia, and suddenly his political career self-detonates when the sordid details of his Spitzeresque sexual pathologies are revealed.
But that's what he is now: Randy Castro, sex offender. The title of the incident report spells out his crime: "Sexual Touching Against Student, Offensive." The curiously placed comma might also be offensive were it not that school officials are having to spend so much of their energies grappling with the first-grade sexual-harassment epidemic they can no longer afford to waste time acquiring peripheral skills such as punctuation.
So, should we start calling these junior offenders "preverts"? (I'm surprised Steyn didn't use that one.) Seriously, Steyn heaps scorn on the officials who are pulling this in various districts around the country. Increasingly ham-handed bureaucratic overreaction to what is actually quite normal behavior by small children. Behavior that can be corrected easily without stomping them with the full might and power of a jackboot emblazoned with the school's colors.