A North Carolina boy received an unplanned two-day break from school, not because he was sick, or because he got caught fighting, but because he thought one of his teachers was cute.

Nine-year-old Emanyea Lockett was suspended from his Gaston County elementary school after a substitute teacher overheard the boy saying another teacher was cute. After the teacher heard Emanyea’s compliment, he was called into the office and sent home for “inappropriate” language and sexual harassment.

Emanyea’s mother, Chiquita Lockett, said she could understand the harsh punishment had her son touched the teacher, but he didn’t.

“It’s not like he went up to the woman and tried to grab her or touch her in a sexual way,” Lockett said. “So why would he be suspended for two days?”

According to WSOCTV, a local station, “School officials said in addition to the comment about the teacher, Emanyea had been warned about calling students bad words. They said all of the comments are inappropriate and violate the student code of conduct.”

Emanyea denies calling other students names and his mother wonders why the school never informed her of the other alleged incidents before the suspension.

“What’s in that letter, what they accuse him about — if that’s true, I should have been notified about it,” Chiquita Lockett said. “And if so, then I would have seen where a suspension would have taken place.”

Emanyea isn’t the first child to be accused of sexual harassment lately. Just this week, a first grader was kicked out of school for sexual harassment and sexual assault after he allegedly kicked another boy he claims choked him and stole his gloves in the groin. While fighting is never the answer, I’m hard pressed to see how either of these cases amounts to sexual harassment.

While children are growing up faster these days, turning everyday, natural behavior–such as crushing on your teacher or fighting back against a bully–into a sex crime isn’t the answer. Instead, school officials should use these incidents as teachable moments about how to treat others with respect, rather than projecting adult issues onto children.

What do you think? Is calling a teacher cute sexual harassment or did the school overreact? 

  • b.brown

    It was definitely an overreaction…this wouldn’t have gotten two blinks from a teacher or anyone else for that matter while I was in school, but many schools now have very strict zero-tolerance policies as well as teaching the students to be pc about everything. On one hand, as a parent, I can see where they’re coming from, trying to protect everyone’s safety, but on the other I think they’re really reaching. He’s a little boy. Little boys have crushes.

  • Srenda

    Hmmmm, was the teacher white, I wonder? I only ask that because I bet there are still places in the south where a black boy or man giving any kind of attention to a white woman (or is perceived to be doing so) is considered a threat to her “virtue.”

  • CaliDreaming86

    The school took it too far by suspending him.

  • http://@clnmike Clnmike

    This sounds all wrong, “a substitute teacher overheard the boy saying another teacher was cute.” how is that harassment? And how do you suspend a kid with out having a conference with the parent on what should have been a pattern of inappropriate behavior, if there was any? And what measures were taken to correct the behavior prior to suspending him? Yeah I would like to know the racial and gender make up of the teachers and school administrators involved. Lets say the kid might be an A-hole, there is a right way of doing things, this makes the school look suspect.

  • TheBestAnonEver, Part 2

    He should be sent home. His mother should teach him about respect for his elders and how to stay in his lane. Kids these days.

  • QON

    I do wonder if the general overaction to the behavior of black boys in schools which results in them being suspected, expelled, medicated, herded into Special Education classes has anything to do with their high school drop out rate.

  • QON

    But let this boy be a victim of bullying. He would have to die or hang himself before anyone did anything. Schools are such crap. Im home schooling.

  • QON

    @TheBestAnon

    No he shouldnt have. This was politically motivated and very misandrist. You got kids being bullied, killing themselves, dying, being beaten in 30 second beat downs. This kids tells someone else that his teacher is cute, someone else over hears it and he is suspended. Disrupting his education and that of the whole school because now this is national news.

  • African

    This is ridiculous. This is crap. I mean this is a kid he doesn’t understand the significance of all this crap he’s being subjected to. I’ve always been skeptical at the school system in the 21st century and this just solidifies my skepticism. Why can’t adults leave kids out of their politricks? this is sad indeed. This is part of the demonization of straight male sexuality in the society. Straight men aren’t supposed to express their feelings towards the opposite gender anymore, that is sexual harassment but women can. And they do it all the time and that is fine.. Well I have no problem when it’s adults playing that stupid game but to subject these kids to that kind of crap is disgusting. I wonder how it’d have been if it was a young school girl expressing her feelings towards a male teacher.. Oh crap, I’m over-thinking because it would never make headlines. Anyway sucks to be a straight male in the 21st Century.. My heart weep for the innocent little kids.
    Peace!!

  • Candy1

    I think it was a huge overreaction. How many kids have crushes on their teachers?? I could see if he called her ‘sexy as hell’, or commented about her body parts, but this is nothing serious. And he didn’t even call her “cute” to her face. At most, the teacher who heard it could’ve simply given him a verbal warning and left it at that. As for the claims that he had been calling his classmates names, they should’ve let his mother know first so she would’ve had a chance to take action.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jared-C-Wood/1483120929 Jared C. Wood

    I am so thankful I have been out of the school system for going on 15 years now. The comments I used to make to my friends about some of my sexy (and they know it!) teachers would have surely gotten me expelled. But, at least back them, educators had common sense. Yes, kids are too, too grown for my taste, and I usually agree with disciplinary actions, but this situation does not warrant suspension. A talking-to, with a parent present, would have been the correct form of action. Now, this boy might be afraid to speak to females in general for fear of reprisal. They should be focusing on what these chil’ren wear to school–that is what concerns me.

  • Alexandra

    And the teacher whom he referred to as cute wasn’t even there to hear it? I don’t think what he did warranted a suspension. Cute is an innocent word to me. I would like to read that code of conduct however, and know if he is the first to be suspended. They also mentioned he was suspebded for other comments he made. Wonder what words are considered inappropriate to the school? Maybe a sit down with mom and a school counselor should’ve been the solution, not suspension. And one thing the mother should know is that sexual harassment isn’t just physical.

  • Cantarah

    If anything his mother should be outraged right back. They are sexualizing a fairly innocuous comment from a nine year old which says a lot more about them then it does about the nine year old.

  • GorgeousSmileLove

    All I am going to say is they need to watch this little boy very closely, especially as he becomes a teenager and a young adult. He gives me bad vibes from his photo alone…..goodness, please protect the little girls.

  • Timcampi

    There is a severe error in this sentence, please fix:

    “[..]and sexual assault after he allegedly kicked another boy he claims choked him and stole his gloves in the groin.

  • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

    The way schools are treating Black kids these days he’s lucky they didn’t call the police and arrest him. Instead of the boy being suspended that sub needs to be suspended for being an idiot.

    And I too would like to know the race of the “cute” teacher as well as the sub and the principal.

  • African Mami

    Give me a damn break! Since when did complementing turn into sexual harassment. I will NOT be surprised if the substitute teacher is WHITE. If so, the mother should file a RACISM charge against her! Lawwwwd, if I was in the mother’s shoes I don’t know if diplomacy and tact would be my best friends!

  • Clnmike

    “All I am going to say is they need to watch this little boy very closely, especially as he becomes a teenager and a young adult. He gives me bad vibes from his photo alone…..goodness, please protect the little girls.”

    Now that right is the exact reason why I want to no more about the teachers and school administrators involved. Only thing missing with this statement here is some white hoods and a rope.

  • Shay

    I agree. I feel like something isn’t be told. I doubt he only said the teacher was “cute”. I’m sure he had some sadistic words to follow that. I’ve worked at after school program with young children, they are not as innocent as they parents would like to believe. I’m sure the parent had an idea of how her child behaved.

  • Ms. Terious

    Normally I would agree with you, however, he did not say it directly to the teacher. It seems to me that he was talking to his friend and the teacher overheard what he said. Maybe its just me though. When I was a kid, we had opinions about teachers, especially substitutes…and we shared our thoughts with our friends.

    SN: I was a teacher in a special education school and I would take a “cute” over being called a “bitch” or “mutha-fawka” “slut” ANYDAY!!

  • QON

    @GorgeousSmile

    Protect the little girls from what? Offering to give him a blow job behind the school while being filmed by his friends? I wonder how many black men and boys have been sent to prison because, “He gives me bad vibes from his photo alone.”

    spit…you disgust me. Black men and boys need to be protected from you.

  • Cantarah

    Judging a nine year old to be a potential sexual predator from a single photo of him is irrational, unhinged, illogical, and silly. The kid is giving a nervous smile – and what exactly qualifies you to judge potential future criminality from a kid’s photo?

    Shay -

    Not even the school is claiming that he referred to her with other “sadistic” words, just that he called her cute. And using anecdotes about your own life as if they’re relevant to the situation and somehow give you psychic powers that enable to you to determine that not only the kids in question, but the school as well, is also lying about this boy only saying his teacher is cute indicates you might not be competent to teach children.

  • Cantarah

    Well said.

  • QON

    @shay

    “I’ve worked at after school program with young children, they are not as innocent as they parents would like to believe.”

    Youve worked kids huh? Are you one of those educators who often sleep with their students, send them inappropriate texts and pictures, get knocked up by them? fight over them in the class room? Sorry I believe the kids. Too many times peiople like you have proven to be sexual predators.

  • Leo

    I think something is wrong with teacher …..the. Innocent young man was just gaving compliment……how is that sexual i Quess if he said that slut It probably would have been cool………they should now suspend here without pay and for not using her brain

  • http://@clnmike Clnmike

    Corrections……Now that right *there* is the exact reason why I want to *know* more about the teachers and school administrators involved. Only thing missing with this statement here is some white hoods and a rope.

  • L

    9 year old boy= 15 year old boy in 2011. . The suspension was appropriate. If you could go in these schools these days, its no where near what schools were in the 70s and 80s even earlier. And the smile/smirk that kid has….could have pure evil behind it.

  • http://@clnmike Clnmike

    And some one can say 9 year old black girls=15 year old girls= future disease carrying, multiple baby daddy having, cantankerous, violent, welfare queens.

    See how that ignorance works?

  • QON

    @ClnMike

    Exactly. The nerve of these women. They were the same ones talking about how young Amber Cole was and she didnt know what she was doing and we have to understand. This little boy is younger than Amber Cole.

    I pray for black boys. They are being educated in school by these very black women who already see them as criminal. They treat them as such, pat themselves on the back on how great little black girls are doing in school and scold black boys for doing so poorly.

    I am keeping my boys away from female educators. If they arent trying to have sex with the boys, they are trying to get them locked up.

    Dear Jesus.

  • DollB

    I was just debating this at work today. Surprisingly a man (in his early 30s) was telling me how unnatural it is for a 9 yr old boy to think a grown woman is cute. He went on to say, just watch to see what he ends up doing in a few years… All this over a kid saying he’s teacher is cute???

    I’m also in my 30s and from NY. I knew some fresh boys growing up. If I have a 9 yr old that did that at school I would talk to him but I wouldn’t think it’s abnormal for him to think his teacher is cute.

    Unless there were other instances where this kid was behaving inappropriately, I think the school’s reaction is abnormal.

  • Ref

    *eyeroll*

  • TheBestAnonEver, Part 2

    Cinmike: I just need to point some shaky stats – black men have higher sexual disease rates and larger numbers of white women are on welfare.

    Carry on.

  • LKJ

    An investigation by school officials of the suspension of a fourth-grade student determined that no sexual harassment occurred, Gaston County Schools officials said.

    Chiquita Lockett, the mother of 9-year-old Emanyea Lockett, said last week her son was suspended for sexual harassment after calling a teacher cute.

    In a letter to Chiquita Lockett, school officials said Emanyea said a teacher was fine in a suggestive tone. School officials said in addition to the comment about the teacher, Emanyea had been warned about calling students bad words.

    Chiquita Lockett said she was never told about the other comments. Emanyea said he didn’t use bad language about other students.

    On Tuesday, the school system issued a statement saying there was no sexual harassment.

    “We regret this situation happened. The superintendent has attempted to contact the family to offer an apology to the parents and student. The school system is also sending an official letter of apology to the parents and student,” the statement says in part.

    The suspension will not count against Emanyea, and additional instructional assistance will be provided to him for the classroom time missed, the school system said.

    http://www.wsoctv.com/news/29927381/detail.html

  • AfroStyling

    He is gonna grow up to harass women on the streets and make unwanted comments. Train him now!

  • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

    I heard on the news that the school has apologized and retracted their assertion that he sexually harassed the teacher.

  • http://@clnmike Clnmike

    TheBestAnonEver, Part 2,

    And you completely missed the point of what I said.

  • Kooltony

    Sounds like a updated version of Emitt Till. Kids have had crushes on thier teachers since , forever. If that woman gets the vapors around little boys she’s in the wrong profession. So basically a woman can claim sexual harrasment if she takes offense to anything a male does, even a small male child. So in reality being born with a Y chromosome makes you a second class citizen subject to the whims of any woman. Remind me to throw rocks at the next ‘slut walk’ these hypocrites hold

  • Mother of a 9yr old

    I have a 6yr old son and a 9yr old daughter and I find this punishment totally overboard. It is communistic. Kids do not yet know how to express their anger in words under all circumstances and sometimes lash out. This is normal behaviour, not harassment! My kids are not training for the military, they are just kids, leave them alone.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Libra2008 April

    OMG! Boys will be boys, and like his mother said, “He didn’t touch the teacher!” Plus, he didn’t even tell the teacher, he was talking to a student. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard boys say how cute or sexy a teacher was. “Sexual” harrassment is being taken too far. When I think “sexual” I think someone touching, groping, or feeling another without that person’s consent; or talking to someone about sexual things and that person saying they do not want to be involved in that type conversation… But this is just plum ridiculous!

  • Alex T

    I don’t even know why people have to defend by the boy by saying “boys will be boys” or “he didn’t touch her” he only said SHE WAS CUTE! And he said to somebody else not even to her. You mean I can’t say someone is cute?

  • http://www.ehowtogetridofmanbreasts.com Ka Lill

    Can I just add that there are many reason for man breasts . Many folk refer to man boobs as bitch titties.Sometimes these grow b’cos of an unusually high build up of estrogen in yourbody. Now us men don’t make the equivalent amount of estrogen as the ladies, but some men make alot more than other men. 1 big cause for this is because of steroid abuse.

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