Beliefnet News

In what would seem to be political correctness gone mad, an elementary school assistant principal called police after a 12-year-old boy and girl were caught kissing on a Florida playground.

The school administrator had called state child abuse officials first, who told her that sixth graders exchanging their first kiss wasn’t something they would respond to — that perhaps she would want to pursue the matter with law enforcement. Lee County deputy sheriffs responded to an emergency call from the Orange River Elementary School and declined to file charges, reported Kristine Gill for the Scripps-Howard News Service.

Was Tinkerbell trying to prevent sexual abuse in "Peter Pan"? (Photo: Walt Disney Co.)

Sgt. Stephanie Eller of the sheriff’s office told reporters that deputies informed Assistant Principal Margaret Ann Haring that a kiss between children is not a sex crime.

“This incident is more of a simple assault,” Sgt. Eller said, wryly — adding, “though by definition there would have to be a victim.”

And neither 12-year-old is willing to go on record that they objected to being kissed.

Now irked parents are accusing the school of over-reaction and taking political correctness to a bizarre new level.

According to the Naples, Fla., Daily News, two sixth-grade girls had a crush on a sixth-grade boy. On the playground during a physical education class, they began arguing in front of their friends about which one of them loved him the most. According to witnesses, the boy in question was aware that he was the object of both girls’ affection and basking in the attention as he climbed on the monkey bars.

Suddenly, one of the girls decided to prove she was his one-and-only. She jumped up and gave him a kiss. Witnesses do not agree whether or not he kissed her back. However, it caused quite a sensation on the playground among their gawking classmates — particularly the crowd of girls who had been taking in the romantic drama.

A teacher on playground duty reported the kiss on the monkey bars to Assistant Principal Haring.

Haring reportedly feared it was a “possible sex crime” and that school regulations required that such an assault be reported. She called social workers at the Florida Department of Children and Families. They said the call came in on their sex-abuse hotline, but according to DFC spokesperson Terri Durdaller, “It did not fit our criteria.” Sheriff’s Deputies responded, talked with teachers and took no action.

Apparently stealing a kiss is not against the law in Florida — particularly among children.

Deputies “went ahead and took a report,” said Sgt. Eller.

Local reaction has been predictable.

“Whatever happened to common senses?” demanded one parent.

The incident has even made the British tabloids. Officials have declined to name the 12-year-olds publicly — although every 12-year-old girl in Naples knows exactly who the kissing couple was.

“It’s all so much foolishness — and one more reason the public is losing confidence in the education system. A kiss between 12-year-olds, I would say is relatively harmless,” parent John McDaniel told the Daily Mail‘s Paul McDonald, who quoted another parent saying: “Principal Margaret Ann Haring needs to be fired immediately. It is pretty obvious she is out of touch and clueless. Two little kids kissing is a sex act? What an idiot.”