When I was in school, things were different. We grew up in a very rural part of America and in an area that was not interested in a cosmopolitan lifestyle. Remember happy days of playing “Smear the Queer” on the playground. Good times among us good Christian boys. Then there was that whole “monkey” thing.
It was a simple game, really. You walked up to an unsuspecting 3rd or 4th grader. You yelled, “Monkey!” and then smashed him in his genitals with your fist.
I know this.
I was the one who started it.
This became a popular game, and thus, a problem. We were all called down to the elementary school gymnasium. All boys in these two classes. All read the Riot Act. In fact, I learned something about male fertility and the threats that this game posed. The gym teacher was very angry about this problem. I was an innocent at this point, clueless as to what was going on. It was funny to me at the time. Then I was told it wasn’t funny. We stopped.
Fast forward about 40 years or something, now we’re dealing with 5th graders. Someone suggests “Slap-Butt Friday.” This becomes a major issue. Nobody is making anybody sterile in this plan. But this becomes even more scary to the school.
If somebody slaps a butt, and that slap is unwanted, it becomes sexual harassment. Thus, the phenomenon of pre-teen on pre-teen violence? Seems like somebody slaps a butt, gets slapped in the face, end of game.
Not a chance. There were meetings. Meetings about meetings. Hand-wringing. Then a united front from teachers and staff: ZERO TOLERANCE OF 10 YEAR OLDS SLAPPING OTHER 10 YEAR OLD BUTTS. DO YOU HEAR THAT?
We can all sleep soundly. SBF never materialized, though I cannot imagine this being the incredible detriment that others saw it becoming. Where I guess I just saw a bunch of dopey kids joking around, it became fodder for lawsuits, labeled as potential sexual assault, prison time, and Rick Perry sticking a needle in somebody’s neck.
I’d call it an over-reaction, but I can’t. We live in a world where schools (and the teachers) are placed in the position of defendants-in-waiting. That’s too bad. I don’t know why I’m not in jail sometimes. I mean, 75 to 100 boys beating on each others’ testicles was a problem. SBF? That was just a petty issue that became way too big for no good reason.
Glad I don’t teach these days.