Remember the story earlier this week about a nine-year-old boy who was suspended for calling his teacher “cute?”
It seemed the perfect cautionary tale against zero-tolerance policies and their ilk, a great example of why taking things on a case-by-case basis instead of deeming an elementary school student guilty of sexual harassment for seemingly innocuous- if admittedly disrespectful- behavior. Emanyea Lockett’s mom went to the media after her son was suspended, and the tale of the boy’s unfair treatment was picked up widely, appearing to resonate with discomfort surrounding policies such as the one that saw the boy removed from school temporarily for his transgression.
The story has another twist, as the principal at Brookside Elementary in the Gaston County School District has been forced- by his account- to resign or be fired after the Emanyea Lockett controversy drew national interest. And if you’ve ever dealt with a school district and come up on the wrong side of their arcane policies or unwavering rules that may seem arbitrary, it could be somewhat difficult to have sympathy in this case.
A local news site interviewed now-former principal Jerry Bostic, who feels he was treated unfairly for a stupid mistake- a situation that clearly mimics the one Emanyea faced. Bostic complains:
“I made a mistake, but I’ve worked for Gaston County Schools for 44 years and (Gaston County Schools Superintendent) Reeves McGlohon could have cared less. One mistake in 44 years. And I’m not given the benefit of the doubt.”
Well, no. You weren’t, Mr. Bostic, but neither was this kid. Hopefully the principal’s forced resignation will serve as a warning to school administrators around the country who think no-thought policies are the way forward for students, lest they be subject to the same treatment.