Elementary Sexual HarassmentCommentary by Pete du Pont
December 16, 1996
Host intro: Remember the first grader suspended in North Carolina for the heinous crime of kissing a classmate? Pete du Pont of the National Center for Policy Analysis says we can be appalled, but we shouldn't be surprised.
Perhaps you thought sexual politics, federal government style, reached it's loony apex when the EEOC seriously considered forcing the Hooter's restaurant chain to hire male waiters.
But when 6-year-old Jonathan Prevette was suspended for "sexual harassment," it was just a reminder that feminist doctrine, enshrined in a 1992 Supreme Court ruling makes anything possible because it allows a lawsuit if schools fail to prevent a hostile environment.
"Hostile environment" is a term so vague it can mean anything: flirting; a compliment; the old p.c. standby "inappropriate laughter"; and my favorite, "sexual looks." How, precisely, do you know a look is sexual? You'd have to read the thinker's mind. What's next? Harassment suits based on "sexual thoughts"? George Orwell, call home.
Now, a first grader's innocent kiss carries the same legal and moral weight as sexual assault. And the hard core treat it that way, too. Columnist Linda Chavez quotes a national organization for women lawyer saying, "the way we establish the rules and lines of behavior is by litigation."
Even if it means busting a first grader for crime he can't even understand.
Well, those are my ideas. And at the NCPA, we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont, and I'll see you tomorrow.
Host outro: Friday, Pete du Pont looks at bad economic journalism that's a blueprint for bad economic policy.