Five-year-old Eric Lopez received detention in the spring for pulling his pants down on the playground at Ashton Ranch Elementary School in Arizona. The school deemed the act "sexual misconduct"—a ruling that will remain in his permanent file. The district is now defending its actions.
According to AZFamily, the boy's mother, Erica Martinez, has been trying to have the sexual misconduct label removed from Eric's file for two months, given that his actions were not sexual. So far, the district has refused. Assistant Superintendent Jim Dean said in a statement:
"Our school district uses consistent language for disciplinary infractions in order to provide clarity and track discipline data accurately."
"Even though the discipline labels are consistently used and the discipline form is consistent from grades K-12 to ensure all legal mandates are met, the discussion the administrator has about a situation and consequences are age appropriate. The discussion with a kindergarten student is focused on the specific action, not on the label that is used for classifying the infraction."
AZFamily points out that there are systems in place to keep children from being accused of sexual offenses:
A state of Arizona initiative called AZ SAFE helps provide clarification to districts to assist them with the collection of information.
Under its definitions for sexual offenses, the state recommends that every district take into account the age and maturity of a student before placing their actions in the sexual offense category.
Dean says Martinez will be allowed to add a rebuttal to Eric's permanent file, so her thoughts about the decision can be on record.