Thursday, February 23, 2006

You've Got to be Kidding, Right?

In Silver Spring, MD (Tuesday 21 February, 2006) a 5-year-old girl was suspended from her elementary school for allegedly being involved in sexual activity on the school's playground. WHAT? A 5-year-old? Sexual Activity? What about the boy or boys that were involved? So far I've only seen one source for this news story, the local DC area ABC News Station WJLA Channel 7. I was shocked when I heard the coming-at-11-O'Clock News headline teasers. Of course the exact details are not being divulged, and the identities of the child and her parent(s) are not being given for her protection. So they didn't say if more than one boy was involved or what the activities were. But come on 5-years-old? Her father is fighting the suspension and obviously is asking a lot of questions, including where the playground supervisors where, or what they were doing when these acts took place. I would be interested in knowing who initiated these acts, her or the boy or boys she was involved with.

Who is responsible for something like that? Obviously the parents of any of the children involved need to inform their children of what types of behaviors are acceptible. When do parents need to inform their children about sex? For years experts have been saying that the best thing to do is to talk to your kids about sex, when they first start asking all those where do babies come from? questions. Parents are told to tell the kids the truth, don't involve the stork (he just delivers them he don't make them), and to use the medical terms, not the street slang. But when do kids start asking those questions? Is that at 5-years-old? Is it sooner? Was this girl doing something she saw in a music video or a movie on TV? Was it something she heard about from peers or an older sibling? Has she been suffering abuse? Was she simply imitating dancing she saw? Was she following instructions from one of the boys? Were they also 5 or 6? Or a little older?

Now unless things have changed in the last 35 years or so since I was 5, a child who is 5-years-old is just beginning school, usually in pre-school or what is known as day-care now. 5 or 6 used to be the age that you "started" school with pre-school, then it was Kindergarden at 6 and then at 7 you entered Elementary School with First Grade. This has your child graduating high school at age 18. Now depending on your area's school district and school organization the starting age range differs by about a year so some kids start their formal education at anywhere from about ages 3.5 to 5 maybe 6. It also depends on what time of the year your child was born. So graduating high school seniors are usually 17 & 18, sometimes 16 and very occasionally 19.

I was trying to think back to when I was 5, and what I knew about sex at that age. I think I might have heard the word at that age, but I don't think I "Knew" about sex until 7 maybe 8. Then it wasn't until around age 11 or 12 that we had formal Sex Ed in school. I remember to participate we (the children) were given a participation form that described the course and had to have it signed by our parents in order to participate. I think most parents gave the OK, I can't recall any kid in our school not being allowed to take the course. I don't recall how long the course was, but I do recall that they segregated the boys and girls. This I assume was to inform the girls of all the proper feminine hygiene details without any rude or gross boy jokes. Thus keeping the boys in the dark about the specific details of that special time. Yes the boys were taught about the menstration cycle, but we weren't given all the specific details, just the Reader's Digest version. No wonder men don't understand women. We don't learn about these things early enough. It isn't until our girlfriends get moody that we even catch a hint of what is going on.

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