Let's hope the kissing 6-year old has learned his lesson

September 27, 1996|By Mike Littwin

Georgie Porgie, puddin' and pie,

Kissed the girls and made them cry.

Then the principal came out to say,

"We gotta put little Georgie away."

It's the '90s, folks: You steal a kiss these days, you pay. Ask Bob Packwood about the new rules. Trap the odd woman in the elevator, stick your tongue down a few reluctant throats, and the next thing you know you're out on your butt faster than you can say Senate Ethics Committee.

So, maybe little Johnathan Prevette, a modern-day Georgie Porgie, should have known better.

Maybe little Johnathan Prevette -- a tow-headed 6-year-old with thick glasses and a winsome smile -- had to be stopped before the boys came out to play.

Maybe in little Johnathan Prevette we have the makings of a future senator who will someday have to resign in disgrace. Either that or grow up to be a pro football player.

Maybe . . . maybe I'm getting ahead of myself. Have you heard the story?

In the small town of Lexington, N.C., Johnathan Prevette, a first-grader at Southwestern Elementary, "stole" a kiss from a classmate. (We used to speak, in innocence, of "stolen" kisses. Now, we speak of "bringing charges," which, if you think about it, is hard to rhyme in a love song.)

Little Johnathan got her right on the cheek. From all reports, it was one time. No exchange of saliva. I think the official term for such a kiss is a peck.

He got her good, though.

He got her so good that the name of the "victim" is being withheld.

A teacher spotted the violation, or who knows what might have happened next. Little Johnathan and his tow-head were marched off to the principal, who did not suspend him, as reported.

What he did was send little Johnathan to the school's high-management classroom (which is where they send bad kids), made him miss an ice cream party (which, to a 6-year-old, is far worse than a 20-year stretch at San Quentin) and turned him into a national celebrity (which is way cool, dude).

Why all the fuss?

Because his crime was ... sexual harassment.

No, I'm serious.

Allow me to quote school spokeswoman Jane Martin: "A 6-year-old kissing another 6-year-old is inappropriate behavior. Unwelcome is unwelcome at any age."

A day later, they were backing off the sexual harassment charge because it sounded, well, stupid. They said little Johnathan broke a rule about "unwelcome touching," which is quite different, somehow. Or maybe not.

If you have just the slightest bit of common sense, or if you don't want to make the Rush Limbaugh show, you allow little Johnathan to plea bargain to a lesser offense, something along the lines of "snotty-nosed brat" or "acting like a 6-year-old."

You give him a time-out and tell him that kissing little girls is something that not even Bill "Sittin' in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g" Clinton did in the first grade.

No, the ever-zealous school officials had to go for the big one. If only Freud were alive today.

Katie Couric: Dr. Freud, can a 6-year-old actually sexually harass somebody?

Freud: No, but he can date his mother.

Did you get a look at this kid?

He doesn't look like a serial kisser. He looks like a cereal eater. He looks like he could play little Mikey in the Life commercial.

But now he's got a rap sheet, or, worse, a mark on his permanent record.

He needs a lawyer, or maybe an agent. He's 6, and he's made the "Today" show, CNN and the front page of USA Today.

This is a story that plays.

I talked to someone who works in the office at Southwestern Elementary, where they must be feeling a little heat. I asked her name and she said, "I'm not allowed to say."

If she does, she'll probably get sent to the high-management class and miss her ice cream, so you can't blame her.

Here's her explanation. Every kid takes home a handbook of school rules. If you're 6 and can't yet read, your parents are supposed to read them to you. And because we've raised our consciousness and we've read statistics about all the girls who are sexually harassed by the time they leave high school, we've added a few rules.

That makes sense, unless, of course, you're 6 and your idea of a really good kiss is something made by Hershey.

Kiss and tell

Schoolyard "romance" among kids, along with tag and teasing, is as old as education itself. But now a first-grader's kiss of a classmate has gotten him booted from school for "sexual harassment." Everybody's got a story about their schoolyard experiences--first "love," first kiss, etc.--or has heard them from their kids. We want to hear about yours, and what you thought then and now. Tell us your tale by calling Sundial at (410) 783-1800 and entering the four-digit code 6110.

Pub Date: 9/27/96

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