Op Ed with Bob Branco – We Can’t Even Show Affection

Recently, in a Colorado school system, a 6 year old boy was suspended from school because he kissed a little girl’s hand. At first, they wanted to charge the boy with sexual harassment, but later they downgraded it to inappropriate behavior. Imagine that; a poor little boy charged with sexual harassment.

Even if a 6 year old knows that his behavior is inappropriate, he is supposed to have parents who can talk with him about it. In this case, I don’t think that this child behaved inappropriately at all. I think he kissed the girl’s hand because it was a friendly, affectionate act of kindness. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being kind and showing affection. In fact, I think this world needs more of it.

There are times when I don’t understand school suspensions. Is school a privilege that should be taken away? I thought punishment meant that you couldn’t watch television, play sports or hang around with your friends. Since when is taking away your education a form of punishment when a principal punishes kids for skipping school on purpose?

To get back to the original subject, I have witnessed several incidents in my life where people kissed someone else’s hand. Sometimes it happens in hospitals or during religious events. This does not constitute sexual harassment. These are affectionate gestures. In a hospital, a loved one may be trying to nurture a patient back to health spiritually by kissing his hand.

In second grade, I kissed a little girl on the cheek once. I don’t know; it might have been her birthday or the beginning of a long vacation when I wouldn’t be seeing her for a while. I knew why I did it; she knew why I did it; my teacher knew why I did it and my mother knew why I did it. It was a form of affection, not sexual harassment. If I did something wrong in school, and if my teacher told my parents about it, my parents would talk to me, and the matter would be done with.

Today, I sometimes hug little children because they need a hug or because it makes them happy. There is no underlying reason for this; it is something I was brought up to do, and I know my parents always had the best of intentions when raising me to do the right thing. So as a result of some individuals who practice bad sexual behavior, we, the moral ones, have to be deprived of our character. School principals, psychologists, the police, and other authority figures have enough to worry about where the bad behavior is concerned without looking for it in people who don’t intend to do it, especially little, innocent boys who can’t even comprehend what I just wrote about.

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