Debate Forum: 4/5/16


The “end” of an era?

Florida girl faces misdemeanor for pinching schoolmate’s butt
By Sarah Sidlow

Please forgive the following puns. It’s too easy…

If you’re walking the halls of Milwee Middle School in Longwood, Florida, you’d better keep your hands to yourself. Unfortunately, it seems those words of wisdom didn’t reach one 12-year-old female student, who allegedly pinched a boy’s backside in the hallway between classes a few weeks ago. Now it’s her butt that’s on the line.

Breana Evans was under the impression that “pinching someone’s butt and laughing at their reaction is a game that a lot of kids play at the school,” reports a local CBS affiliate.

Boy, was she wrong. And suspended.

The butt-pinchee, whom Evans claims not to know, initially turned the other cheek after the incident and told the school resource deputy he didn’t want to press charges against Evans.

But the boy’s mother said otherwise. She called local deputies and said she wanted to prosecute the girl for battery. Evans has been booked into juvenile detention, and has a seat waiting for her in a diversion program as well as community service. As long as she completes the program, the classes and passes all the drug tests, her charge will be dismissed and her record will be clean.

Those who stand behind the girl argue that kids will be kids, and—while their behavior should be monitored—in this case, the punishment doesn’t fit the crime. Most question the misdemeanor, but many also question the suspension. A time-out, they argue, is probably better suited for a first-pinch-offender.

“Lord, lord, lordy,” the girl’s father said to local media, “what has this world come to—kids can’t even be a kid and that’s basically what it is—she’s 12 years old, she was acting like a 12-year-old child.” He went on to tell the mother, “Let your kid be your kid. He might get some friends.”

Evans’ supporters also argue that police have no role to play in situations involving non-violent kids who are, well, making kid mistakes.

But on the other hand, there are those who argue that, while it’s unfortunate, school environments—and particularly hallways—have become notorious for bullying and harassment, among other serious issues. Especially in this era of sexual harassment awareness, they argue, situations like these must be taken seriously.

A 2014 U.S. News and World Report study indicates one in five middle schoolers experience harassment at school in the form of unwanted physical touching. Schools like Milwee Middle do have bullying and harassment bylaws on the books, and perhaps the suspension, at least, was simply a consequence of that school’s code of conduct.

The fingers of blame are pointing in lots of directions on this one. Who’s really in the wrong? Should the girl really be punished to the full extent of the law? Did the school make a bad policy call? Is the boy’s mother overreacting?

Reach DCP freelance writer Sarah Sidlow at

Psycho mom

By Tim Walker

“Keep your hands to yourself,” the Georgia Satellites sang, way back in 1986. And is there anyone reading these words that wasn’t told that at least once as a child by their parents?

However, a mother of a young boy in Longwood, Florida, evidently agrees with that sentiment more strongly than most. When her middle school-aged son was walking down the hallway at Milwee Middle School and a 12-year-old girl reached out and pinched his behind, his mother demanded that the girl be arrested for battery. Yes, arrested at 12, arrested and put into the back of a patrol car and booked into juvenile detention and charged with misdemeanor battery. All for the harmless prank of pinching a boy’s butt while in school.  And this was days after the school had already addressed the situation, and meted out a more suitable punishment.

The girl, who didn’t know the boy, said this during an interview: “I regret it because I didn’t know it would lead to this.”

Of course she didn’t. She’s 12 and playing a harmless little prank that goes on in schools all over the country, countless times every day with no need for law enforcement intervention. Obviously, the young girl wasn’t aware that her “victim” was burdened with an overprotective mother at home, a mother who feels that any minor juvenile flirtatious infringement on her little boy’s personal space and/or rear end should result in jail time.

We’ve all seen parents like this of course, at the playground, at the pool, at the carnival. “Helicopter parents,” they’re called, because they’re constantly hovering over their children, insulating them, protecting them from the slightest intrusion of dirt, or sweat, or other children or any fun. You can almost see in their eyes the manic desire to wrap their kids up in bubble wrap to keep them safe and sound and free from the bumps and bruises that are simply a part of growing up in the real world.

I have to give credit to the young man who was “assaulted” so brutally in the hallway. He spoke to the school resource officer, and asked the officer not to charge the young girl with a crime. Perhaps he just laughed it off. Perhaps he was flattered. Or perhaps he saw the situation for what it was—a harmless prank, and one that certainly didn’t merit a trip to the courthouse.

Obviously, it’s not like the school didn’t address the situation—for the life of me, I simply can’t refer to this whole thing as a “crime.” The school’s resource officer spoke with both the boy and the girl, and decided not to charge her, again because the boy didn’t want her charged. The girl was suspended from school however, which seems a bit harsh, but the school wanted to teach her the importance of respecting her fellow students’ right to privacy and personal boundaries, and they felt that a suspension was the best way to do so. A detention or two would have been appropriate, perhaps. Regardless, the school’s policies were followed, and resulted in punishment for the girl, which is exactly how the system is supposed to work.

But that wasn’t enough for helicopter mom. The boy’s mother felt that being suspended from school wasn’t punishment enough for the young batterer who had so grievously assaulted her defenseless son. She contacted police, and demanded that the girl be arrested and charged with battery, much to her son’s chagrin, I’m sure. The officer who arrested the young girl expressed regret over the situation, but had no choice but to have the girl booked.

The state’s attorney has said that the young girl will now have to complete community service, submit to drug tests and complete a diversion program. If she complies, all the charges will eventually be dropped.

“I’m sorry my kid touched your kid but I’m sorry—because you need some help I think, too overprotective—let your kid be your kid, he might get some friends and that’s all I have to say,” said the girl’s father.

I’m not arguing that the girl shouldn’t have been punished. Part of the job of our schools is instructing young people in how people behave in a society, and part of that is being taught to respect another person’s rights to not be bullied, or harassed or pinched on the butt.

But another part of raising our children is teaching them that, in a reasonably just world, the punishment should fit the crime. People make mistakes, and young people tend to make more mistakes than others. And having a 12-year-old arrested and jailed for the “crime” of pinching a boy’s butt is nothing more than the act of an unreasonable, overprotective and out-of-control parent.

Tim Walker is 50 and a writer, DJ and local musician. He lives with his wife and their two children in Dayton, where he enjoys pizza, jazz and black t-shirts.

Butt out

By Mike Snead

Almost immediately after getting a phone call asking my opinion on the outrageous behavior of a 12-year-old causing havoc at a school, my concerns about what I thought were the serious issues of the day—such as Iran being on a path to getting nuclear weapons, of the reality of an exploding national debt if Bernie or Hillary’s promises of mucho free stuff for votes comes to pass, or of more ultra-progressive judges being appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, making our “sovereign” able to ignore the Constitution and rule America by decree—immediately faded away.

That one phone call made it clear that the very real potential of social collapse was now here in America brought about by the inconceivable childish prank of pinching a butt. I saw social collapse coming when the news reported that a boy kissed a girl on a dare, a young boy used his fingers and thumb to form a “gun” while playing, and, even worse, a college student tried to hang the American flag in their dorm room to show their patriotism without taking the roommate’s unpatriotic feelings into account. How we made it this long is beyond my understanding. But clearly, the last days of America are at hand because of the errant fingers of a child playing a prank.

Or so the extremely politically correct progressive crowd would have us believe with their “1984” Orwellian view of a perfect (politically correct) society.

It is human nature to try to find our place among our social group. The complication is that our biological computer, and its emotion and judgment-controlling software, are continually changing throughout the first quarter-century of our lives. For most youth, emotional and judgmental maturity is not reached until after the calendar age of majority. For this reason, the way society accommodates youthful immaturity is to tolerate most undesirable behavior by children by treating them as pranks or mistakes, not criminal acts as many of the PC police wish.

When needed, corrective action—emotional and judgmental programming updates—is implemented by responsible adults to the extent that the child’s emotional development enables. Parents, obviously, have a primary role in taking corrective action. However, society has also implemented an extra set of layered methods to fill any gaps, with teachers and school administrators as the first line of action. This is only reasonable given that, outside of the home, schools are where students spend a substantial amount of time under the immediate supervision of adults.

Children grow healthier physically when exercise (e.g., playing) and, at times, intense physical exertion (e.g., gym class) are undertaken while the body physically matures. The same is true for children’s emotional health with much of the resilience-building emotional exercise coming from their natural social exchange with other children, often while at school. Like the police arriving to a car accident on a congested street, occasionally childish behavior occurs requiring adult involvement and constructive disciplinary action.

For reasons that I cannot comprehend, many people want our schools to be bastions of political correctness and fully expect teachers and administrators to enact vengeful discipline whenever behavior someone someplace labels as politically incorrect occurs. When such a disciplinary response is not forthcoming, inappropriate adult behavior commences in the form of social media smear campaigns or threatened lawsuits. In this particular case, the parent of the “battered” child called the police to have the hardened criminal butt-pincher arrested. Hardly a constructive disciplinary action!

The ultra-politically correct now demand that children behave in school in a Stepford-like robotic manner emulating their extreme view of adult political correctness. We see this with discussions of a child’s social sin of violating another child’s “personal space” with a friendly hug and with statistics such as 9.7 percent of school bullying taking place near the lockers, according to a 2014 study done by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. These progressives aim to create in our public schools a utopian version of their perfect orderly world.
This will only produce emotionally fragile adults unable to cope with real life social

The much better approach is to graduate our children into adulthood with good emotional stability coupled with a good understating of the adult behavior toward others that a reasonable society expects—such as don’t bully. The way to accomplish this in our schools is to show our teachers and administrators the respect their public service deserves, to publicly defend their reasonable disciplinary actions when challenged by the PC police, and to let children be children while building their emotional resilience.

It’s time to stop worrying about offending those with the hyper-political correctness syndrome now permeating our culture. Being fearful of insulting some stranger’s unforeseen or unrealistic expectation is emotionally and socially unhealthy. Just politely ignore those with such hyper-PC behavior to deny them what they most want—a fearful target for their bullying rants.

Mike Snead is a professional aerospace engineer focused on advanced human spaceflight and energy systems. You can reach him at

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Reach DCP editor Sarah Sidlow at

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