The Pikesville kiss is stirring up people on social media. A 13-year-old boy in Pikesville, Maryland, was arrested for second-degree assault last week because he grabbed a girl and kissed her, according to ABC News. Friends of the teenager dared him to kiss the 14-year-old girl.
After the girl told school authorities what happened to her, the school called in the police. The police involved in this case told the media that the girl said that the boy "grabbed her by her shirt near her stomach, pulled her toward him and 'open-mouth kissed her' with his tongue. This was determined to be against her will."
After the police heard her story, they decided to arrest the teen boy and charge him with assault. The boy was not taken to jail. He was released to his mother. Not only does the boy now face criminal charges, but he also faces disciplinary action from the school. He violated the school code of conduct with his action.
Names of the two teens involved in this case have not been released because of their ages, but news of the incident has gone viral since its release over the weekend. Reaction to the news has been mixed. Some feel that an assault charge was too much for the kiss, but others feel that the charge is proper punishment.
Fox Baltimore spoke with two parents about the charges against the boy. One woman said, "I don't know if an unwanted kiss is a second-degree assault of a person." A man also offered his thoughts on the case, and he felt the police should not have pressed charges unless the girl's parents asked for charges against the boy.
People have been even more vocal about the incident on the internet. One man commented UPI's report on the incident with his opinion about the assault charge.
"Jesus, what is happening in this country? When I was in second grade, I smacked a girl's butt, and all I got was a talking to from the teacher. He kissed her. So what? I was kissed by girls in elemenary school, and didn't want to either. I washed my face, and moved on. My friend kissed a guy on the head in high school, and no one called the police. I don't think a kiss qualifies as 'assault,' or even sexual harassment, especially when there are teens involved. Teenagers do stupid things. Just let it go, and move on. I don't see any reason to get the police involved, or take this to court. Police and court room shouldn't even respond to such incidents."
"So the boy is an aggressive sexual predator (as far as you know) and everyone is okay with it...no wonder a rape culture has emerged. This behavior is only natural for a much younger age group and generally is not open mouth with tongue. So choices are he is too influenced by peer pressure, he is a sexual predator or he is extremely immature for his age."
One might think that sexual harassment and assault is not the norm in schools, but that is not the case. One 2014 study revealed that sexual harassment is prevalent in middle schools. According to Us News & World Report, one in four students in middle schools have been the victim of verbal harassment or unwanted touching. The study revealed that most of the incidents happened in school hallways or in the classroom.
Dorothy Espelage, one of the principal people involved with the study, spoke about the study's findings.
"We didn't ask them to talk about how normal sexual harassment was. We asked them the most upsetting event … and they would almost undo it as if [to say], 'But that's just joking.' It is a cause of concern that these youth are at such a young age dismissive of behaviors that are clearly distressing. We are not talking to kids about what sexual harassment is. We are not talking to kids about boundaries. So when these things happen, they don't know what to call it. They may know they feel uncomfortable and they can tell us it was upsetting to them, but the adults around them aren't necessarily talking to them about their rights."
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