When you were a kid did you ever try to get a glimpse of late night Skinemax through the snowy lines that show up when the cable company blocks a channel? Or maybe your parents subscribed and you invite your friends over while your parents were at work so they could watch the naughty channels on your TV? Did you ever sneak a Playboy to school to show all your friends? Well today that could land you in juvie.
Last week two fifth grade boys in Salt Lake City were goofing off and did a Google search for the word “lesbian.” Instead of the definition of the word on Wikipedia, they found dirty, nasty porn. Like many curious 11-year-old boys they showed it off to their peers. One child told his/her parent and another child told the principal. The school reacted by suspending the boys for 2 days and calling the police.
The school district spokeswoman, Rhonda Bromley, said the school involved the police “based on the seriousness of the case.” Really?!? The SERIOUSNESS of the CRIME. Two curios boys looked at porn on the internet…like how many of us snuck a peek at dirty magazines when we were that age. And then, thinking they were the bomb, they shared it with their classmates. Probably while giggling like…well, schoolchildren. And that’s SERIOUS? And a CRIME? When the hell did society get so prudish? When the fuck did we start involving the police and threatening court and juvenile detention rather than just disciplining our children?
Bromley continued with, “…what they did was inappropriate, and it was wrong, so as educators and a society hopefully we need to help them learn that. It’s a little disappointing to hear people say, ‘Boys will be boys.’ … I don’t know what the magic age is when people can stop saying ‘Well, boys will be boys.’” Well you know what? These boys actually are boys. Boys who are curious about their bodies. Boys who are curious about girl’s bodies. Boys who wonder about this mysterious thing called “sex” that they see all over television, in movies, on the front page of gossip rags, and depicted in advertising. And all of the adults in their lives tell them it’s taboo so they seek information elsewhere.
Police Sgt. Gregg Ludlow said, “Our main emphasis is not to hammer these kids. If we can get them into the juvenile justice system and make sure they’re getting some counseling or other services, that’s our end goal.” Yeah, ’cause a juvenile record is such a great way to learn a lesson for the crime of being curious and trying to be cool. And counseling?!? For looking at porn a couple times on the school computer. Shit, if looking at porn on the internet a few times requires counseling Lee and I better call a psychiatrist first thing in the morning.
First we’re charging teens with child pornography and adding them to the sex offender list for innocently sending naked pictures of themselves to their boyfriend/girlfriend. And now we’re charging 11-year-olds for showing their friends some porn they found on the internet. What’s next? Charging toddlers for indecent exposure when they won’t keep their clothes on?
I’m not saying that it’s ok for teens to send naked pictures of themselves. Or for 11-year-old boys to pass pornography around at school. But it’s not criminal. It’s a learning experience punishable by discipline. You know things like grounding, taking away their cell phone, hiding the video games, etc. Surely police have better things to do then discipline our children with handcuffs and threats of jail.