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Fire This School Superintendent!

By Warner Todd Houston

February 10, 2006

In yet another case of PCisms gone mad, superintendent Basan Nembirkow of the Brockton, Massachusetts school system has suspended a 6-year-old boy for sexual harassment of a girl student at Downey Elementary School.


Now, one might think by reading that first line that this Op Ed is just another example of a Conservative going over the top. After all, what does a 6-year-old know about sexual harassment? Well, that is certainly a good question. It's sad that it is a question that our intrepid superintendent, with all the many sheepskins presumably hanging on his office wall, didn't think of first. It is a question that many others considered, though.


John Wilcox, AP writer, reports that this poor boy's Mother happened to think of it. (See USA Today)

"He doesn't know those things," she told The Enterprise of Brockton. "He's only 6 years old."

Wow. Clear and intelligent thinking, for sure. And I'll bet this fine Mother doesn't have too many diplomas of her own to grace her walls.


But, if diplomas are your criteria, try these (from the same report):

"The connotation is you're getting some kind of sexual gratification, or wanting sexual gratification, or are putting pressure on for some kind of sexual gratification, when a 6-year-old doesn't have that capacity." - E. Christopher Murray, a civil rights attorney

Dr. Elizabeth Berger, a Philadelphia-area child psychiatrist, said this case seems to be an overzealous attempt to ensure students feel safe in school after years in which society was not attentive enough.

First-graders who repeatedly touch classmates need to be disciplined and taught what's appropriate, said Nan Stein, a senior research scientist at the Center for Research on Women at Wellesley College. But don't call the apparent discipline problem "sexual harassment" because first-graders just don't get it, she said.

Maybe University schoolin' didn't altogether ruin these three people, huh?


But, what did this little fella do, you ask? Apparently, after the little girl in question touched the defamed boy first, he put his fingers inside the waistband of her pants. That's it. No lascivious groping. No verbal abuse. No gyrating hips or even any Madonnaesque thrusting up against this whiney girl!


So what is wrong with Basan Nembirkow? One wonders where his sense of reason and propriety went when he attacks this child, this un-sexual little boy (not asexual, he is entirely unable to understand sex), this mere baby and accuses him of sexual molestation. It is, indeed, outrageous that this fool of a superintendent would so stigmatize a little boy.


Nembirkow should be fired for this outrage. This isn't just a simple mistake he has committed. He has stigmatized this child and his Mother. He has also opened the door for any behavior, no matter how innocent, to be considered sexual harassment thereby making the less of any claim of real sexual harassment. He has also damaged this little girl who now thinks that she can get people in trouble for the tiniest actions that she petulantly decides offends her. Nembirkow has damaged the respectability of this school and of administrating schools and teaching in general.


But, isn't this just another example of the feminization of our schools as well as the lack of discipline pervasive throughout? Chances are Nembirkow overreacted here so that he could face the many women he works with secure that he "handled this situation"! Chances are, he is so fearful of what the women that surround him would think of him that he decided to ruin this boy, the girl and the school's reputation just to make his work environment better for him. I suspect he was quite unmindful of what this would do to the children, and far more interested in himself.


Yes, this man should be fired. Perhaps I should say this "man". Because he certainly doesn't seem either professional enough or man enough to hold the position he has attained. Rising to one’s level of incompetence, as Nembirkow obviously has, may be a funny axiom, but when it ends up hurting our children it becomes no laughing matter.


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