The mother of Eric Lopez—the Arizona kindergartner who was formally accused of sexual misconduct by school officials after pulling his pants down on the playground—has vowed to fight the charges, according to CBS Las Vegas:
Eric Lopez, a kindergartner at Ashton Ranch Elementary School, pulled his pants down on the playground this past spring. The child received detention and has a note within his permanent file at the school. At the time of the incident, his mother wasn't notified nor did school officials inform her that her son signed a note in the assistant principal's office.
"He did not know that he could ask for me," Eric's mother, Erica Martinez, told KTVK. "He's 5."
Dysart Unified School District has a policy that states a parent does not have to be present for a disciplinary meeting unless the student requests his or her parent.
First of all, that's a terrible policy, plain and simple. How is a 5-year-old supposed to know to do the elementary-school equivalent of asking for a lawyer?
It's also ludicrous to punish a small boy's antics as if they amount to sex crime. But when school administrators must choose between compliance with silly rules and common sense… well, it doesn't seem like it's ever really a choice.
As Reason contributor Lenore Skenazy put it in her coverage of the incident:
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?"