Yesterday we wrote about Emanyea Lockett, a 9-year-old boy at Brookside Elementary in Gaston, North Carolina. Emanyea allegedly called a teacher at the school “cute,” which caused school principal Jerry Bostic to call the incident a form of “sexual harassment” and suspend the boy as a result. Needless to say, people were outraged, including Emanyea’s mother Chiquita Lockett.
Today Bostic announced his retirement – or, more precisely, he told the Gaston Gazette that the Gaston County School District gave him one hour to decide whether to quit or be fired. He chose the former.
“One mistake in 44 years and now I’m not given the benefit of the doubt. I really don’t believe I was treated fairly,” he said.
The boy’s mother, who’s still reeling from the incident, told WSOC TV that she’ll likely pursue legal action.”This is something that everyone needed to see,” she said, “just to see what’s happening within our school systems.”
Yesterday, Chiquita received a detailed letter from the school explaining why exactly her son was being accused of sexual harassment. Apparently, in addition to the comment about the teacher, Emanyea had been warned about calling students bad words, and school officials said said all of the comments were inappropriate and in violation of the student code of conduct.
But Chiquita said she should have been better informed. “What’s in that letter, what they accuse him about – if that’s true, I should have been notified about it,” she said. “And, if so, then I would have seen where a suspension would have taken place.”
The district has since apologized to the family and clarified that there was no sexual harassment, which is a relief since I thought it was bizarre to accuse a 9-year-old of sexual harassment over use of the word “cute” in the first place. As I wrote yesterday, there are two sides to every story, but it appears the whole thing got blown out of proportion somewhere along the way.
“We regret this situation happened,” the district said in its statement.