Hi Readers — Got this note and had to vent. I am SO SICK of everyone thinking of everything in terms of perversion. It is a perverted way to think!! Here goes. — L.
Dear Free-Range Kids: This isn’t strictly a Free-Range issue perhaps, but it illustrates the nonsensical trend of treating inappropriate but harmless behavior with fear and suspicion. The following is a quote from the training module that every parent who wishes to volunteer at our school must endure, even simply to serve cupcakes to a class.
The policy of requiring training and background checks on all parents is odious in itself, discouraging parent involvement and wasting precious money which could be used for actually educating children, but the message the training conveys is even more sinister:
The first step to preventing sexual abuse between children is to know that it can and does happen. It’s hard to believe that a group of kindergarteners would take turns urinating on the playground and daring each other to play “stinky butt.” From then on, you will need to pay particular attention to these children, since you now have warning that they may be at risk for further inappropriate interactions.
Good grief, that is beyond ridiculous. First of all, it isn’t hard for me to believe that a group of kindergarteners would do such things. I wouldn’t like it, but it doesn’t strike me as particularly dangerous or rare. I could easily imagine such a story being related with exasperation and, yes, even humor. But simply beginning the sentence with “It’s hard to believe…” leads the audience’s perspective to consider it something so outrageous as to warrant deep, dark concern.
I don’t know what to say about the implications of the last sentence. What next? It chills me to think that a registry (lifelong?) for such deviant kindergarteners is not outside the realm of possibility.
Thank you again for providing a rowboat against the tide! — Noël in Houston