View Full Version : Boy's suspension in harassment case outrages mom

02-16-2006, 07:40 AM
Boy's suspension in harassment case outrages mother

Seeks new school for son, 6

By Ralph Ranalli and Raja Mishra, Globe Staff | February 8, 2006

BROCKTON -- A 6-year-old boy suspended last week after school officials said he sexually harassed a girl in his class does not understand what he did wrong and should be moved to another elementary school to avoid becoming stigmatized by the incident, his mother said yesterday.

The Brockton school district gave the boy a three-day suspension on Jan. 30 after conducting an internal investigation -- which they forwarded to the Plymouth district attorney's office. Prosecutors, however, have not brought any charges, in part because state juvenile criminal laws do not apply to those under age 7, said prosecutors.

The suspension outraged the boy's mother, Berthena Dorinvil, who said her son is far too young to know the meaning of sexual harassment.

''What is that supposed to mean? He's only 6 years old. I didn't raise my son like this," she said last night in an interview at her home.

Dorinvil said school administrators told her that her son's infraction was to place his hand inside the waistband of a girl's pants, touching the skin on her back.

Though her son's suspension has ended, Dorinvil has kept him out of school and has filed a request with Brockton schools to move him to another elementary school because she feels he would be treated differently at the school he attended, Joseph H. Downey Elementary.

She said the district has declined the transfer request but offered to move him to another class in the same school. She is appealing that decision and plans to keep the child home indefinitely.

Brockton school officials yesterday defended their decision.

''This was done right by the book," said Cynthia E. McNally, a district spokeswoman. ''This was thoroughly investigated."

School district administrators said Brockton schools have for years had among the state's most thorough and progressive policies on student sexual harassment.

''The safety and well-being of Brockton Public School students and staff is of the utmost importance to us and we take all allegations of sexual harassment very seriously," read a statement released yesterday by Brockton School Superintendent Basan Nembirkow. ''Principals are trained to handle these difficult situations and they are assisted, as needed, by the district's sexual harassment officer in handling each situation."

School officials would not comment on the specifics of the boy's case, citing his privacy rights. The boy was not identified because he is a minor. Downey principal Diane C. Gosselin could not be reached for comment.

Dorinvil is a stay-at-home mother who said she has raised her only child in the conservative moral tradition of Haitian evangelicalism.

She and her husband, Philippe, a school bus driver in Boston, do not let their son watch secular television and have signed up for cable so he can watch religious cartoons.

She said Gosselin called her on Jan. 30 to tell her ''my son was in trouble over a girl." At school, where she found her boy in tears, she said she was informed he had violated the school's sexual harassment policy and would be suspended.

The Brockton school district's student sexual harassment policy, drafted in January of 2004, prohibits ''uninvited physical contact such as touching, hugging, patting, or pinching."

School officials refused to disclose which provision of the policy the boy violated.

''It's a situation within the parameters [of sexual harassment], and we're dealing with it within the parameters," said McNally.

The school district forwarded the evidence to Plymouth District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz's office.

A spokeswoman for Cruz, Bridget Norton Middleton, confirmed the office had reviewed the case, but she refused to comment on it. However, she noted that juvenile crimes apply to those age 7 to 17, with younger children exempt.

Dorinvil said her son has said he does not want to return to Downey because they are ''too mean." She said he is confused over the recent turn of events in his life -- and has questions she finds difficult to answer.

''He doesn't even know what that word 'sexual' is. I don't see how I'm going to explain it to him," she said. ''I can't. He's just too young for that."

web page (http://www.boston.com/news/education/k_12/articles/2006/02/08/boys_suspension_in_harassment_case_outrages_mother/)

02-16-2006, 10:44 AM
Snake, these sexual predators are getting younger and younger, all the time.

02-16-2006, 07:53 PM
And they're also getting older
web page (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060216/ap_on_re_us/comptroller_comment)