Classroom conversation with teacher about sex act prompts meeting with parents

tbarton@islandpacket.comMay 21, 2013 

Robert Smalls Intermediate/Middle School officials met with some parents this month after a fifth-grader raised a question during class about a sex act.Principal Denise Smith met with about 10 parents May 10 after a student in teacher Lisa Sutton's Advanced English Language Arts class asked her about "teabagging." The act may be performed as a practical joke on someone who is asleep, according to Urban Dictionary.

"And the teacher, with limited -- even naive -- knowledge of what the child was asking, said: 'You don't do that. It's not a funny thing. It's not something anybody would do,'" Smith said, recounting what Sutton told students.

Three fifth-grade boys also approached the teacher on the playground and asked the same question, Smith said. A fourth fifth-grade boy also questioned Smith.

Sutton could not be reached Tuesday.

Smith said a parent and Sutton later told her that some children were engaging in suggestive activities on the playground and in their neighborhoods, so the principal arranged a meeting with parents.

In a May 9 letter to parents of students in Sutton's sixth-period class, Smith said there woul be a meeting "to talk with parents about questions raised by students in this class period and the teacher's responses to those questions."

Smith said Sutton acted appropriately by discouraging the behavior and its mention by students, and that further discussion with students was best left to parents.

Smith said she later met with all fifth-grade classes to reinforce appropriate behavior and language to use at school.

"I told them street talk is not always socially acceptable in a school setting and made sure no one had a misunderstanding about that," she said. "I also told them there are socially accepted ways we interact with each other."

Two parents who attended the meeting were contacted for comment, but did not want to be identified.

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