Monday, September 7, 2009

Male-phobic View of This College Student :(

First, I should clarify that not all men are child molesters. There is this huge stigma against men being around children, especially girls. I repeat, not all men are child molesters. I will concede that most child molesters are men, however.

I didn’t realize this stigma until I started researching for my service learning project. My goal was to speak with girls from 6th-12th grades. Ideally, I was going to create a blog and invite them to participate, sharing trials, inspirations, and anything else they felt like talking about. This was to be a site that gave girls agency.

Great idea? I know. Awesome idea. However, I contacted the Osceola County School District via e-mail to inform them of my needs to speak with girls in Honors English classes. I am an alumnus of both the middle and high school that I wanted to visit, so I figured it wouldn’t be a problem. Well, apparently it is. I understand the policy aspect of the denial, but he wouldn’t stop there. Below is the e-mail that the school district guy sent me in response to my professional request:

“Unfortunately, we cannot honor your request. Our District has very strict guidelines with respect to access to students and student access to the internet. Chat rooms, FACEBOOK, unsupervised blogs, etc. are blocked from student access from District sites. Under the law, school districts act" in the absence of parents" in the supervision of students. Few parents would view a request by a unknown male college student for access on the internet to middle and high school teenage girls on issues surrounding their "life" as a permissible activity, and for the school district to in anyway sanction such would be irresponsible. I have advised the university that are restricted use policies do not permit such activities; I was assured by one university official that it would not be a project which would be endorsed by the university. In an age of cyber crimes against children, we must be ever vigilant in our decisions about computer access. I am certain you can understand that. I would suggest that you focus on adult females for your study rather than minors.

Sincerely

Mark A. Munas
Exceutive Director of Professional Development and Standards
The School District of Osceola County, Florida
407-518-2949 (ext 65054) • FAX 407-518-2988
munasm@osceola.k12.fl.us


For all you out there with this male-phobic view, I ask you to consider this: Why are you uncomfortable with the idea of a man being around girls? Would it make a difference if I were a woman?

2 comments:

~Amanda W. said...

Hi Michael,

I am sorry that you feel as though you are being discriminated against. (You ARE being discriminated against.) Obviously, there are reasons for these rules that are in place. I think it would be different if you were female.

I would actually like to read your request you sent to the school. Perhaps there was something in the way you wrote it that cause the administration to flag it.

I have a pretty good perspective on this area for a few reasons. I am a single mom of two kids. My daughter is a teen and my son is in elementary school. To be able to find someone (male or female) you feel you can trust on a personal level is hard enough. But to find someone you can trust enough to be around your children (in your absence) seems nearly impossible. This, for me, goes for men and women. Entrusting someone with the care of my kids is, really, the highest honor I can give someone.

I am not a man-hater. On the contrary, I love men. I like when I get to be in a good relationship with a great man. I do not like that when I have to decide if a relationship will get serious, I have to wonder if this man will mistreat or harm my children. But as a responsible adult and parent, that is what I have to do. There is a stigma, but it is necessary.

I am sorry for all the great men in the world that have to fight against the assumption that they are possible sex offenders. I really do feel for you. I have a friend that is a man. He is the closest friend I have ever had. I trust him with my children. (He has his own and I see how he worries about them, just as I worry about mine.) He once shared with me that he was falsely accused of raping a minor. As much as I loved and trusted my friend, for that moment I did have fear and doubt instilled in me. He went on to explain how unfair the justice system is toward men and how they have virtually no rights. For example, I could go to a police station right now and name any random man and charge him with some horrible crime and it would be his burden to prove otherwise. This is where I am able to see this matter from both sides (as much as is possible).

So, Michael, it IS unfair to good men. But, unfortunately, parents (and schools) have to sort of treat people as if they might do something they shoudn't, just to protect their kids.

On the other end of the spectrum there are parents who "trust" everyone with their kids. Someone I was once close to had two little girls and never seemed to have any qualms about moving in with the latest boyfriend. In those girls' lives (so far) they must have lived with 10-15 different men. I almost have no doubt that at least one of those men harmed those girls.

It really comes down to the old saying, "better safe than sorry". In an age where predators are literally a click away, kids' safety is more important than you being treated fairly. That's just the way it is. I don't mean to sound cruel or heartless toward you Michael, but, that's really what it comes down to.

Try to put youself in the shoes of a parent of a teenaged girl. Think of all the things she needs protecting against. How would you feel if a college guy wanted to blog with specifically teenaged girls (your daughter)? While you may think or hope he has good intentions, would you be willing to take that risk?


As a mom, and close friend to a great guy, that is my opinion. I would like to suggest to you that you may be able to institute your blog in a "supervised" fashion. I would try Orange County
(if that's feasible for you). You need to be approved to volunteer for them- they perform a background check. (Go to ocps.net) This will probably give you some room, then you might try to work in conjunction with an English teacher in the classroom/computer lab, etc.


Good luck,
Amanda W.

james said...

Thanks a lot for a bunch of good tips. I look forward to reading more on the topic in the future. Keep up the good work! This blog is going to be great resource. Love reading it.
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