– 5-year-old slapped with sexual misconduct after dropping pants in playground (RT, June 30, 2014):
The mother of 5-year-old Eric Lopez, who signed a paper attesting to the act of voluntarily ‘depantsing’ in his school playground, is now fighting authorities to remove the stain from her son’s permanent school record.
Accused of the ‘lewd act’, Eric Lopez did not ask that his parents be present at the moment he was asked to sign the incriminating document inside the assistant principal’s office. The boy’s mother said her son had no idea he could make such a request.
“He did not know that he could ask for me,” the boy’s mother, Erica Martinez, told azfamily.com. “He’s five.”
The boy also received a detention from school in addition to the permanent sexual misconduct charge on his file.
Martinez, who says school officials failed to take her son’s age into account when they labeled his ‘depantsing’, has been locked in a legal battle for two months to have the charge scratched from her son’s record, arguing that Eric’s actions were simply the innocent behavior of a child.
Thus far, however, the Dysart Unified School District in Surprise, Arizona, has denied her appeal.
Assistant Superintendent Jim Dean said the actions taken by the school district are “age appropriate.”
“Even though the discipline labels are consistently used and the discipline form is consistent from grades K-12 to ensure all legal mandates are met, the discussion the administrator has about a situation and consequences are age appropriate,” Dean said in a written statement. “The discussion with a kindergarten student is focused on the specific action, not on the label that is used for classifying the infraction.”
Under Arizona State law, every school district is advised to consider the age of a student before painting any actions on the part of a child with the black brush of sexual misconduct.
Dean says Martinez has the right to include her objections to the report in her son’s permanent file. The other option for Erica Martinez is to move her son into a completely new school district, where his file will then become a clean slate.