Nine-year-old boy sends a love note to his classmate. That’s where the story begins. Where it ends is with talk of a sexual harassment charge. Is a love note from one fourth grader to another sexual harassment? No it isn’t. It’s not sexual harassment for one child to send another child a note, but when the child on the receiving end of the note asks for it to stop, it should stop. That’s really the issue we are skipping over here. Isn’t there a middle ground between being allowed to send unwanted notes and sexual harassment?

 Yes. There is. Talking! Explaining!

 Communicating with our children that when someone asks you to stop, you stop.

The mother of the note sender, believes her son did nothing wrong. He did do something wrong. He sent unwanted notes. He was asked to stop. He didn’t. His mother says he didn’t do anything wrong and therein lies the problem. Children need honest communication from us about consent and no meaning no and more than that, they need us to teach them by example empathy and “do unto others.”

Perhaps the real problem isn’t whether or not to charge this nine-year-old child with sexual harassment, perhaps the real problem is actually with parenting and policy and common sense.

By Lala Fogarty

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Laura Fogarty
Laura Fogarty

Editor, Ask Lala

Laura Fogarty writes “Ask Lala” for the Stop Abuse Campaign. She is a mother, an advocate and the author of two children’s abuse prevention books: I’M THE BOSS OF ME! and WE ARE JUST ALIKE!

Laura has an ACE score of 7.


Authors express their own opinions which do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Stop Abuse Campaign.