Kindergartener Pulls Down Pants, Forced to Sign 'Sexual Misconduct' Confession

free-range-kidskindergartner who pulled his pants and undies down on the playground after another kid told him to do it was hauled off to the principal's office and forced to sign a "sexual misconduct" form.

If only he couldn't write his name yet! But little Eric Lopez of Surprise, Arizona (yes, what a name), knows his letters. So now he has a label and file that will follow him for the next 12 years. What he did not know—and of course, no one told him—was that he had a right to have his mom present. She didn't find out until after the forced confession, however, and has since filed a bunch of paperwork trying to appeal the label of "sexualized minor."

(The other child who had instructed Lopez to pull his pants down had given the boy no choice, by the way: He had told him that he would pull Lopez's pants down for him if he did not obey.)

Alexf / Wikimedia CommonsAlexf / Wikimedia Commons

The Dysart Unified School District insists that it was simply following standard procedures in the case of "indecent exposure," which is why at this point I must recommend everyone read Philip Howard's new book, "The Rule of Nobody." It talks about how we got to the point where officials believe they truly must follow protocol, even when they know it makes no sense, because this is only "fair." That's the outlook that has given us zero tolerance, three strikes and you're out, and mandatory minimum laws, as well as principals who think their only recourse when a five-year-old pulls down his pants is to label him a sexual deviant. Why is there no official form for labelling someone a "protocol fetishist?"

To watch an interview with Lopez and his mother, go here.

For more stories like this one, check out Lenore Skenazy's Free-Range Kids blog.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Brett L||

    Oh man, I hope they do this to my kid. Making a six year old endorse a form without his guardian present? I'll bet I could pay off my house and buy a new car with the settlement.

  • Live Free Or Diet||

    That's pretty much where I was going with it. It's a civil rights violation. In effect they forced a confession by and while denying him counsel.

  • sarcasmic||

    I'm sure that parents waive all those rights when they put their signature on that paper where they agree to the school policies.

  • Brett L||

    Wanna bet? They could act in loco parentis by disciplining my child. They can't force him to sign anything binding (like an admission of guilt) with that power. Otherwise, parents would never need to sign permission slips.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    If a 5-year-old can't sign a legal contract without a parent or guardian's signature, how the fuck can he legally consent to waving his 5th Amendment protection against self-incrimination?

  • Brett L||

    Well, again, the school has some form of localized guardianship. And Clarence Thomas seems to be inclined to think that the school can waive 4A rights for a child with that power. But I think I could get $160k and legal fees out of the school board.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Ah, yes. I forgot that we are now governed by men, as opposed to laws.

  • brobbs||

    Don't be silly. We are governed by supremely intelligent gods and the divine edicts emanating from every bodily discharge they make.

    Except for Republicans, who are superhuman hell demons.

  • Zeb||

    I'm pretty sure a 6 year old's signature means jack shit anyway. How could such a thing be considered binding in any way?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    There are many reasons for it, but education bureaucrats are some of the seemingly dumbest creatures you will encounter.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Dumb like a fox. They get to keep their jobs and collect pensions while holding no official authority or accountability for anything.

  • IT||

    Why "seemingly"?

  • John||

    Everyone in American should read Howard's books. He really understands how bureaucracies actually work.

  • AlbertP||

    Add Kafka to that reading list, too. He also seemed to have a grasp on bureaucracies.

  • The Original Jason||

    I'd really like to see a parody website that worked like how bureaucracy and regulation work…

    To sign up to comment on articles would require you to take a "certification course" and quiz on it. The course and quiz would contain obscure trivia on the history of commenting plus a little bit of pushing of some completely tangential political agenda.

    To be able to use links, you'd have to get a linking certification which contains completely irrelevant trivia on how TCP/IP and HTTP works.

    To use bold and italics, you'd have to get another certification which includes a 1920's style trivia quiz on how bold and italics were used by white women to (which was originally designed to screen out non-whites).

    To use color, you'd need to get a "color designer" certification with a quiz on color combinations that work right… 'cause you know if you put the wrong two colors together, the universe might collapse.

  • ||

    Listen, guys. A kid whipping his dick out in kindergarten totally scarred me for life. You don't want more kids to grow up to be The Worst, do you?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    That would make me feel unsafe.

  • John||

    Some kid somewhere was going to whip his dick out in front of you eventually. You were just destined to be scared.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    scared

    You are a priceless treasure to H&R John.

  • John||

    And it wasn't that poor kid's fault you were a lesbian.

  • ||

    True story: I actually spent years thinking it was an outie belly button, and I'm way more upset by outie belly buttons than penises.

  • John||

    You and me both.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Outies are pretty disgusting.

  • db||

    +1

  • From the Tundra||

    Generally agree, but there are exceptions:

    http://www.complex.com/girls/2.....ly-buttons

  • Live Free Or Diet||

    A kid whipping his dick out in kindergarten totally scarred me for life.

    That might have been me. Oh, wait! They didn't have kindergarten yet where I was.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    Nicole, please.

    Trigger warning next time you tell an upsetting childhood trauma story.

    Your scarring experience reminded me of my own scarring experience.

  • waffles||

    Chicks dig scars.

  • From the Tundra||

  • On The Road To Mandalay||

    Fraulein Nikki,

    How could this be, since the word Fraulein is neither feminine or masculine, but neuter? Just joking. But the word is neuter. I told some German women this once, and she got all pissed because she insisted that the word was feminine. It just had to be. However, when she looked it up she realized I was right, but she was still pissed at the fact that an American told her this. My question is this" Did young Hitler ever show his willie to some frauleins in grade school?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    The problem is that the alternative to zero tolerance policies are giving the bureaucrats a lot of discretion, and I can bet you that ends in some egregious injustices too. The only answer that ends in less is asking these bureaucracies to do, and 'police,' less and less stuff overall.

  • Live Free Or Diet||

    Separation of school and state.

  • John||

    Vouchers. Let parents vote with their feet.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    That would be better, allowing parents to pick schools that have policies less objectionable to them. But of course true privatization would have that to an even better degree.

  • Carolynp||

    Bam.

  • John||

    discretion is only a problem if there is no accountability. If the bureaucrat is accountable, the discretion is a good thing.

    The bottom line is that you want teachers and principals to be able to use their common sense and judgement running a school AND you want parents to be able to hold them accountable for that. We got rid of the second part of that and things went south rather quickly.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I'm not sure I can agree that accountability solves the discretion thing. For example, fearing accountability officials may treat the child of a popular or powerful parent differently than one lacking that. We had maximum accountability before there were any civil service protections, in the Age of Jackson and such, and that wasn't a time known for administrative fairness and competence, quite the opposite.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    There must be discretion and accountability together. The other options guarantee systemic failure. The problems we have now are designed to provide no discretion so that no accountability will be required, a bureaucrat's wet dream.

  • John||

    If you don't trust people to use their judgment and do their jobs, then your problem is with the entire concept of a school. No organization of any sort can function without its members being given the discretion to do their jobs. Anytime you don't trust the people in an organization such that you try and create a rules based approach where no one is trusted to do anything, you are going to end up with horrific and often evil results.

    Someone can always abuse their discretion and do bad things. That is the nature of discretion that it will sometimes be abused. If you are unwilling to live with that risk then you are unwilling to live with having a successful organization. Ultimately if you are so afraid of people abusing their discretion over something that you just can't give it to them, the answer is that the organization shouldn't exist and you shouldn't be trying to do whatever it is you are doing.

    Think of it this way, if you are so terrified that a jury might abuse its discretion and send a wrong man to the gallows that you can't give them that discretion, that answer is not to send anyone to the gallows, not write a huge set of inflexible rules for juries in hopes the rules will take the place of human judgement.

  • wareagle||

    accountability solves a lot of issues. As it is, zero tolerance means an absence of accountability. Educrats hide behind a policy. Because policy. It is an excuse to NOT think.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Bo Cara Esq.,

    The problem is that the alternative to zero tolerance policies are giving the bureaucrats a lot of discretion


    You mean they would be more accountable for their decisions?

    You have to accept that Zero Tolerance policies are meant to provide cover for school burro-crats, not to protect children from potentially silly decisions or inaction.

  • R C Dean||

    Why anyone believes that a zero tolerance policy impinges on administrator discretion is a mystery to me.

    See, also, prosecutorial discretion.

  • Brett L||

    No, it just allows them to claim "my hands are tied", when confronted.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    This kid, confident enough at that age to show off, will one day rule them all.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    (The other child who had instructed Lopez to pull his pants down had given the boy no choice, by the way: He had told him that he would pull Lopez's pants down for him if he did not obey.)

    Why isn't this a bullying issue?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Good point. I guess the school administration should be the target of a lawsuit from the feds for failing to take steps to address bullying...

  • Bean Counter||

    It wasn't on the internet, so it didn't count.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Why isn't this a bullying issue?

    Because triggers are worse than force, don't you understand anything?

  • wareagle||

    He had told him that he would pull Lopez's pants down for him if he did not obey.

    so the other kid is a govt bureaucrat in training.

  • From the Tundra||

    Cop.

  • Bean Counter||

    Same thing.

  • JW||

    Easy solution: Every time one of these officious twats makes one of these idiotic decisions, they get a capital 'I' tattooed on their forehead.

    After 3 tattoos, it's off to the uneducation camps.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    Public education is child abuse.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Well, in this case it was Pubic education.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    Phyllis Diller and Charles Nelson Reilly called and want to know if you want the center square.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Hells yeah!

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    But...

    Paul Lynde.

  • Slammer||

    Some administrators do bone-headed things.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Why the qualifier?

  • ChrisO||

    Having a 5-year-old sign an official document, with or without the parent there? I really fucking think I've seen it all now.

    As much as I hate the thought of paying private school tuition for my little boy, it's looking more and more reasonable. Sending him off to one of these nuthouses is starting to look like it would be child abuse.

  • ChrisO||

    By the way, that document can't possibly have any legal effect. The person signing it can't even read it, let alone comprehend it.

  • db||

    When I have kids, I'm going to teach them early on to sign their names "Fuck Off Slaver."

  • Carolynp||

    Great, now I need to clean soda off of my screen... Awesome sir.

  • TwB||

    Right. It would most likely be thrown out of court when the parents hopefully sue the shit out of that school.

  • John||

    The signature doesn't mean anything. None of this would matter so much if we didn't have an out of control CPS and juvenile justice system. Without that "fuck you and say whatever you want in your little file" would be a perfectly fine response for a parent to give.

  • ChrisO||

    If I were a judge hearing these parents' lawsuit, any lawyer arguing that this "confession" has any legal effect would be sanctioned for wasting my time.

    Which, of course, is one reason I'm not a judge.

  • Rasilio||

    This is actually true.

    The real story here is that this woman is very very lucky that she did not hear about this incident when the social worker showed up at her doorstep to investigate why her 6 year old was engaging in sexualized behavior.

  • Carolynp||

    Homeschool...just saying...

  • ||

    Let me get a pen...

    avoid the situation entirely until they're legally responsible for their own bad decisions...

    got it.

  • OldMexican||

    So now he has a label and file that will follow him for the next 12 years.


    The document is akin to a confession of guilt given to a minor by a representative of the government to sign, outside the presence of his parents and counsel. That document is thus not worth the paper it is printed on, legally. The parents should sue to have the document removed from his son's record in an expedited way and ask for reparations in the process.

    From the article: She wants the documentation removed from her son’s file or amended to eliminate the "sexual misconduct" language.


    I would not be so lenient. I would have sued the school principal, superintendent and the school district for child abuse, for making him sign under duress a document that said he was a sexual deviant. Even if my lawsuit did not prevail, I would make enough noise in the media about it to make those bastards hide in shame.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    Look, five-year-olds, even the smart ones, are kind of stupid. Only a handful of them can even read. Most of them can't even multiply or count above 100. They're little retards.

    We don't let retards sign binding documents.

  • From the Tundra||

    We don't let retards sign binding documents.

    Oh, yeah?

    http://i.usatoday.net/communit.....-large.jpg

  • Lady Bertrum||

    But he's a democratically elected retard, so different, or something.

  • John||

    In fairness Lady Bartrum, they let Matt Yglesias write for Slate. So, it is not like we don't give retards paying jobs or anything.

  • On The Road To Mandalay||

    Lady Bertrum,

    Do you have any children? If so, are they "little retards"? Just curious. No offense.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Sue the living fuck out of them.

    I often consider getting a Law Degree and taking nut-punch cases like this pro bono.

    Christ, I'm sick of tinhorn dictators.

  • John||

    I really think when I retire, assuming the government isn't bankrupt, I am just going to spend my time suing people like this on a pro bono basis. If you can shoehorn it into a civil rights suit, you can get attorney's fees. And if I am retired, that would just be gravy. The real fun would be constantly suing and fucking with people like this. Talk about a labor of love. "No ma'am, I don't charge anything, just let me be your attorney and start making these people miserable".

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Amen.

  • R C Dean||

    You and me both, John.

    I look forward to the day when I walk into a government building and the pubsecs scatter like cockroaches.

  • John||

    I love litigation as well. And I have a lifetime of experience working in government. I know how these people think and operate and how to hit them where it hurts.

  • Carolynp||

    I think it's the cornerstone of the anti-Pivens-Cloward movement. First, don't overpay your taxes. You should aim to pay $1 on April 15th. Second, sue statists and turn statists in to any bureaucracy that will listen to you. If your neighbor is high on the EPA, tell the local city bureaucracy about the fertilizer he uses on his lawn. If they have a statist bumper sticker, turn them in if they are speeding. Until they feel the actual brunt of the system they created, they will never vote in favor of smaller governance.

  • db||

    +1. I wonder if the Institute for Justice has any need for process engineering consultants?

  • Scarcity||

    Or actuaries?

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Hey Lenore, in the future, please provide a link to the asshole's public email account (or that of his boss). I, for one, have no problem letting dickheads like this know what I think of them.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Here.

    I looked at the demographic data for this school and was surprised to see that it was a majority-White school that serves a presumably middle-class community. The trend is to pull this draconian bullshit in high-poverty, minority, and usually urban schools.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    The middle class suburban schools love a good bullshit offense to get all upset about. Too much hugging, pocketknife, paper shaped like a gun, involuntary searches... the soccer moms supply the admins with all of the paranoid-driven support they need.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    thx

    I was going to look it up later.

  • ||

    I think the general volume of anything that happens in high-poverty, minority, and usually urban schools is generally higher.

    I also think bottom-of-the-rung schools don't have the resources or leeway to enforce and sensationalize this bullshit. At least, they have a harder time competing with local charter schools if they do.

  • Tonio||

    I think that providing an address crosses some line between reporting and advocacy. Not sure whether it's a professional ethics thing or a legal liability thing.

    However, in the case of public officials, their government email addresses are easily discoverable and have often been helpfully provided by commenters here.

    Pro-tip: Make the subject line vague, and don't put the name "Lopez" in your email. Sure these people setup auto-filters after this sort of thing. However L0pez should get through.

  • Number 2||

    Better idea: Find out when the next school board meeting is, flood it with protesters, and then pledge to contribute to the campaign of the challengers against every sitting board member.

    Watch how fast the "sexual deviant" label disappears.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    When the President reads about this in the paper, he's gonna be PISSED.

  • From the Tundra||

    He's too busy here in Minneapolis, relating to us hard-workin' common folk.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    ...relating to us hard-workin' common folk.

    I think you mean "drumming up donations for the DNC by shaking down the local labor unions".

  • From the Tundra||

    That, and $32,500 a person fun-raising dinner. Funny, I wasn't invited...

  • From the Tundra||

    there should be an "a" and a "d" in there.

    Fucking keyboards, how do they work?

  • Brett L||

    I think you just need to pick that one up, hold it over your head, turn it upside down and give it a good shake. Usually fixes the problem.

  • Tonio||

    I could raise a lot of fun for thirty-two and a half large.

  • Sunmonocle Backwards Tophat||

    In Minnesota it's pronounced "DFL" to give it a more homey, working class feel.

  • Zeb||

    I question whether a 6 year old is even capable of sexual misconduct or indecent exposure. Most people at that age have no idea or a very vague idea of what sex even is. Little kids just like to take their clothes off sometimes (or like to make other little kids take their clothes off, apparently). Nothing sexual or indecent about it.

  • Rasilio||

    This.

    With the rare exception of children who have been severely and serially molested 6 year olds have no sexual interests. Even if they know what sex is in a general sense

  • sarcasmic||

    When I was little I used to watch Three's Company because I liked the slapstick physical humor. My mother was horrified because of all the sexual jokes. But I didn't get any of it. I was too little. When I watched the show again many years later on TV Land I thought it was one of the dumbest things I'd ever seen.

    So yeah, little kids might go through the motions of something resembling sexual misconduct, but there's no intent or understanding of what they are doing.

  • Carolynp||

    Not just this, but six year olds are curious. I sure hope the school manages to drum that out of them at a young age.

  • radar||

    Exactly. My son just finished kindergarten, and I have to say I've been pleasantly surprised by the modicum of common sense the staff of his school has displayed. To wit: my kid did basically the same thing as the kid in this story, showing other kids in the lunchroom his dick (along with another boy who did the same thing) because. He had to go to the principal's office, and the principal called us to inform us and ask us to talk to him about not doing it anymore. And that was it. No one shamed him or anything, there was no ludicrous presumption of sexual intent on the part of a kindergartner. He got himself in a bit of trouble for doing something he shouldn't have and was told not to do it again. And he hasn't.

    See? It's not so fucking hard to use your brain, school administrators!

  • ||

    Second.

    Mine, for laughs, mooned his class.

    His teachers emailed my wife and I saying this wasn't the first time something like this had happened to either of them and that the school had an unwritten policy of addressing behavior rather than incidents. But that they wanted to give us a heads up before they notified the (new) principal that it had occurred.

    I couldn't have been happier with the outcome. Now, the "Why Barack Obama likes to help poor people" reading lessons need serious work.

  • Raston Bot||

    The school had to shame the child so he'd never show his evil parts ever again.

    /prudent shithead

  • On The Road To Mandalay||

    Except for having to fill out some form invented by social neurotics, this kid didn't do anything that kids haven't been doing for decades and decades. Of course it is not something that kids should be allowed to do, and a trip to the principal's office is nothing new - minus the damn form. I remember my dad telling me about girls being hauled into the principle's office in grade school for showing their undies while swinging upside down on the monkey bars. But there was no form to sign then. What the hell!? It would be interesting to know how Europeans handle this sort of thing in their schools. Are Scandinavians, for example, as sexually repressive as Americans? Obviously this is not something that schools in Muslim countries have to deal with. However, the extent of sexual repression in Muslim countries must be tremendous. Be interested to know how the Israelis handle this sort of behavior in their schools. Everything is a matter of culture and so on.

  • Zeb||

    showing their undies while swinging upside down on the monkey bars

    I remember that happening, but I don't remember anyone getting in any trouble for it. That's just what happens when skirts and monkey bars are combined.

  • On The Road To Mandalay||

    Zeb,

    Depends where you lived then or live now.

  • sarcasmic||

    It would be interesting to know how Europeans handle this sort of thing in their schools.

    No, actually, It wouldn't. Unless you're one of those liberal idiots who idolizes all things European.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    No man-bag and most definitely NO SOCCER.

  • On The Road To Mandalay||

    Dear sarcastic,

    Sorry to disappoint you because I am not "one of those l

    I am not a righteous right winger, or a anarchist libertarian either.

    Why does someone (in your book and agenda) have to be a "liberal idiot" to wonder how Europeans might handle this or that?

    Obviously you must know that there are people of a great many political persuasions (or none at all) who study European history, and things related to it, and who do not "idolize" Europe.

    So, was your reply to my post based on the possibility that you don't like anything I have to say no matter what, or is it that you really do believe that only "liberal idiots" consider Europe.

    As I recall, I believe what became the United States of America was initially founded by Europeans, and developed by European ideas. Were those people "liberal idiots"?

    You have a nice weekend. Thank you.

  • PRX||

    writing this up as sexual deviancy seems incredibly creepy, especially by someone who has made it their business to be in the proximity of young children.

  • Brett L||

    I'm pretty sure I would mention this several times when I spoke to reporters. "I just don't understand how someone who works closely with small children can see sexual intent in this sort of thing unless they are projecting it."

  • Rich||

    Excellent.

  • On The Road To Mandalay||

    Bret L

    See the Danish film "The Hunt".

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Just added it to my Netflix queue. Thanks.

  • On The Road To Mandalay||

    EDG

    Thanks. I believe you will like the film, although the person posting as sarcasmic might classify you as a "liberal idiot". Maybe he should watch it. Ha!

  • Rich||

    The Dysartfunctional Unified School District

    FTFY

  • Brendan||

  • sarcasmic||

    Covered in the Mourning Lynx.

  • bassasaurusrex||

    What happened to the good old days when principals would say "this is going to be a part of your permanent record" and proceeded to write 'this kid is a dick' and grabbed their desk Scotch and had a drink?

  • twoskinsoneman||

    I wonder how long these types of crazy attacks on children will go on before a backlash of violence against these sadistic school officials begins to follow.

  • Number 2||

    "Why is there no official form for labelling someone a "protocol fetishist?""

    DON'T GIVE THEM ANY IDEAS!!

    Next thing you know, the teachers' pension funds will declare being a "protocol fetishist" a disability and will allow the fuckers to retire on life-long, taxpayer-funded pensions.

  • GILMORE||

    Lenore Skenazy must be one of these "Anti-Feminist Rape Apologists" @ Reason, or something, because there's no reason any person could possibly find fault with authorities intervening in people's lives to protect people from sexual traumas and stuff.

  • Number 2||

    And what a well-reasoned, articulate, measured, persuasive piece that was! If only Reason correspondents could write as well as the author if that journalistic classic.

  • Radioactive||

    after we kill all the lawyers can we off some educrats too...not all, just most so the rest get the general idea...

  • roe3221||

    Its awesome.. Start working at home with Google. It’s a great work at home opportunity. Just work for few hours. I earn up to $100 a day. I can’t believe how easy it was once I tried it out www.Fox81.com

  • Karl B.||

    More egregious than this happening at all is that they did it to a victim. If any six year-old is a "sexualized minor" that needs an eye kept on, it's the kid that asked him to do it. Any word on what happened to him?

  • gaoxiaen||

    The principal pulled his pants down and spanked him.

  • JessicaD||

    Why comment here when you can tell the school district how you feel about it?

    The school district's facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/dysartusd
    Their twitter account: https://twitter.com/dusdmedia
    And their general contact information:
    https://www.dysart.org/MainSite/Contact.aspx

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