In Florida, an 18-year-old girl named Kaitlyn Hunt engaged in a consensual sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl. The parents of the younger girl are pressing charges of statutory rape. Hunt received an offer of a plea bargain that would have made her essentially unable to be with her sisters, who are underage. So she is fighting the case, and risking a 15-year prison sentence.

Some people say this is unfair discrimination because it’s two girls having sex. Other people argue that the issue is the statutory rape laws because the punishment is too harsh for the crime. I don’t think either one is the biggest problem – I think society generally feels distaste for any gender when there is a four-year age difference with kids that young. The inequality is too big for most of the country to stomach.

The real issue here is school. School is on trial. These girls were in school together. Given the ratio of students to teachers, these girls were largely unsupervised, they had no adult role model for most of the day. At the very fragile time when kids are experimenting and becoming adults is the most important time for kids to have a plethora of adult role models to choose from, according to psychologists Joseph and Claudia Worrell Allen. But school deprives kids of those role models.

We have reams of evidence that high school is a fragile time in a person’s mental and emotional development. And we have so much sociological and anthropological data coming from universities that teens are able to make much better decisions for themselves if they are unshackled from the unnatural constraints of school.

It’s unfair to blame an 18-year-old for having a typical high school crush on a classmate. It’s the fault of our school system that these kids have nowhere to turn for guidance. It’s the fault of school that 14-year-olds cannot pick who they want to spend their days with. It’s the fault of the schools that 18 year-olds cannot be doing more age appropriate things than spending eight hours a day with kids four years younger.

School is an efficient holding ground for kids to keep them out of the way of the rest of society. But that’s backfiring. We are not able to give kids the space they need to grow and learn about themselves in a healthy way. And now, we are punishing them for doing what is completely predictable: falling in love with a classmate.

Kaitlyn Hunt should not be on trial. The schools should be on trial. This is a witch hunt. We as a society can’t handle the reality of what we’ve created by locking kids up for eight hours a day. So, instead, we blame the kids for the behavior we set them up to do.

 

69 replies
  1. Bev P
    Bev P says:

    I love how you can see things in certain situations that haven’t crossed my thoughts, then you back up it up with evidence or examples…..gives me that “aha” moment as I read!

  2. Jim
    Jim says:

    This doesn’t add up to me. I agree that these two girls probably were, from their perspective, both just kids; kids this age form crushes and even fledgling loves and act on them. It is unfair to blame these kids for that.

    But I don’t see that the school is on trial. It’s a trial about a law that was broken. I’m not sure I agree with the law in cases like this, but it is what it is.

    I don’t even see this as the school’s fault. Aren’t we supposed to turn to our families and other trusted intimates for advice?

    If I pull back considerably from your direct point I will agree that the way society has been arranged has led to weaker families and warehousing of kids in schools, left to their own devices. That’s what should be on trial here.

    • Gretchen
      Gretchen says:

      Very much agree. There’s something amiss in the *families* here. By the time kids are in highschool, if the family is in a good state/kids have good relationships with their parents, these things are minimized. Of course, teens will be teens and people in general sometimes just act out on their passions. The problem is the “one-size-fits-all” law and the idea of “statutory” rape.

  3. Dana
    Dana says:

    While you have some valid points, not EVERYTHING is the fault of the structure of education and schools. In much the same way that the 8 hours a day spent in the typical classroom is not for everyone, homeschooling may not be beneficial for every student.

    I’m sure many of us that went to through the typical high school experience will tell you that we enjoyed the company of all grades. Friends of different ages are not an anomaly at any time of life. Yes the difference between 14 and 18 is vast. Especially in comparison to say, the difference between 30 and 34, which is minimal. Then again, those of us with siblings especially, tend to befriend their friends and so forth. it would be near impossible to makes sure everyone you interact with regularly is the same age as you.

    I would say the real issue here is the parents who were fine with the girls dating when Kaitlyn Hunt was 17, but immediately pressed charges when she turned 18. Or maybe they weren’t fine with it, but knew they couldn’t do anything about it until she turned 18. The actions of the parents might lead one to believe they are homophobic and vengeful. Which is pitiful and sickening.

    i certainly hope this all turns out well for Kaitlyn Hunt. I completely agree that Kaitlyn Hunt should not be on trial. This is a witch hunt.

    • Karen
      Karen says:

      This is incorrect. The family of Kaitlyn Hunt lied to get sympathy and has now admitted the truth that Kaitlyn turned 18 several months before the start of the relationship and that the younger girl was 14 not 15 as they also claimed.

  4. Ann
    Ann says:

    From my understanding, the parents of the 14 year old waited until Kaitlyn turned 18 before pressing charges. Clearly they are unhappy their daughter was with another girl. As a member of the LGBTQ community it is unfortunate that I feel if it had been an 18 year old boy, this would not be an issue.

    • Karen
      Karen says:

      It has been conclusively established that Kaitlyn Hunt turned 18 in August of 2012 and that the relationship did not begin until several months later. The parents of the younger girl have been clear that they tried on multiple occasions to get Kaitlyn to leave their daughter alone and only went to the police as a last resort. This is not about homophobia – a quick search nets many, many cases of 18 year old boys charged under the same statute.

      • dana
        dana says:

        Nothing has been ‘conclusively established’. We only know what the media reports.
        The yoinger girls parents could have done a numner of things to cut off this relatiinship – a restraining order, talking with Kaitlyn Hunts parents about the matter, have the Principal of the school step in, switched their childs school, etc.
        Something is definitely off in this whole thing.

        Kaitlyn definitely made a bad decision involving herself with this yoing girl but jail time and a lifetime on the sex offenders list is.not the answer. Let’s save the sex offender list for the real psychotic pedophiles.

      • sfreader
        sfreader says:

        “The parents of the younger girl have been clear that they tried on multiple occasions to get Kaitlyn to leave their daughter alone and only went to the police as a last resort.”

        Sorry, but this is not true. According to the case report, Jim and Laurie Smith learned about the relationship on the afternoon or evening of February 7, 2013 while at a basketball game. They then questioned their daughter, who admitted that the girls had had sex. They went to the sheriff’s department the very next day– February 8.

        So how could they possibly have tried “on multiple occasions” to get Kaitlyn Hunt to leave their daughter alone?

        Either they lied to the sheriff’s department regarding when and how they learned of the relationship, or they lied during their TV interview in May when they said they went to the law “as a last resort.”

  5. mh
    mh says:

    Thank you.

    When I read the case was — if Kaitlyn Hunt had been a teacher, she would free and clear.

    Unwanted sexual advances are just another unintended consequence of compulsory schooling. Put 30 million adolescent children in a situation where they are absolutely powerless, and guess what happens.

    Sorry, mom and dad, your child is just a statistic.

    • mh
      mh says:

      My apologies — incoherent.

      Second line should read:

      “When I read the case, my thought was — “

        • mh
          mh says:

          Gretchen Powers

          Crazy, right? Teacher-student sex is a regular headline. The teachers get shuffled around, gain some publicity/notoreity, but they stay in the schools.

  6. mh
    mh says:

    Penelope, is the photo supposed to be ironic?

    Wouldn’t “The Best Teacher Ever” teach her children Y-O-U-apostrophe-R-E?

  7. CJ
    CJ says:

    This is one of your best pieces.

    Agree totally it should be the schools on trial. It is a witch hunt. And, the parents are entirely complicit. If these parents were really concerned about their 14 yo daughter, they would have pulled her from the environment immediately until they got some control of the situation. They allowed whatever was happening knowingly while they whined to authorities over time. What parent continues to send their child into a “dangerous” environment while they wait for help? And, not only are they ruining the life of an 18 yo girl and her family, but they are indeed scarring their own daughter for life. Selfish as can be!

    And anyhow, in the end the claim that there is a tremendous leap in good judgement based on the USA arbitrary focus (hocus pocus) on the age of 18 is just ridiculous. These are two teenage people. What’s that old saying, the age of too intelligent for their highest level of bad decision making skills? We do not stop physical or psychological growth into adulthood until our early twenties.

    • Karen
      Karen says:

      This is not a witch hunt and Kaitlyn is not a victim.

      14 year old minor children cannot consent to sex, period. Kaitlyn was given multiple opportunities to walk away from this situation unscathed and she refused them all. She was warned off by her basketball coach and kicked off of the team when she refused to comply. She was warned off by other parents at the school and she refused to leave the girl alone. She was warned off by the younger girl’s parents on at least 2 occasions and she still refused to comply. I have no sympathy for her.

      • CJ
        CJ says:

        I read your comments earlier above. You are wrong.

        A wonderful lawyer wrote that the intent of the law is to protect children from predatory adults, or young children from much older adolescents. That these two young teenage girls are in the “same social circle,” and that clauses should be added to the various state laws to clean up this mess whether it is among boys and girls, boys and boys, girls and girls, or any combination.

        There were no victims here, just consenting social peers. And, again, if the parents were truly interested in protecting their child from a perceived danger, there would be no chance at “multiple opportunities.” Now, there will be victims: these two girls will be forever damaged by this absurd circus.

        You have a right to the opionion apparently that 14 is too young for sex and 18 yos are magically of the “correct age.”

        I am genuinely frightened of those that righteously declare no sympathy for young people and their paths through humbling mistakes…it is a main trait in psychopathy.

        • mh
          mh says:

          CJ — I think it is possible to have sympathy for these girls, which qualifies one for non-psychopath status I suppose, while still deploring the decisions made by these parents and the non-actions taken by the school.

          There’s plenty of sad in this story. People aren’t self-righteous when they comment on it.

          • Karen
            Karen says:

            “There were no victims here, just consenting social peers.”

            Once again, the law is clear. 14 year CHILDREN cannot consent to sex. I am absolutely astonished that this is being defended as acceptable behavior.

          • CJ
            CJ says:

            mh, of course it is possible to have sympathy. We all very well should, especially with kids.

            You missed that my comments were directed at ones declaration of none. When one works so hard to make it known they cannot sympathize, this is worrisome for us all. It is self righteous, inherently, to declare such things.

          • CJ
            CJ says:

            Karen, sincerely, a reading of The New Jim Crow, a viewing of the Central Park Five, and a viewing of John Gatto’s youtubes may help diminish your astonishment.

      • mbl
        mbl says:

        PT and others have repeatedly pointed out that schools have taken over the raising of our children and parents have allowed it.

        If a child has been raped, it seems to me that the number one priority is to prevent it from happening again. You don’t ask the rapist to stop. You don’t ask the rapist’s parents to tell them to stop. You don’t rely on other parents to complain about your child being raped. You don’t expect the basketball coach to take care of it. You don’t rely on the school to expel the rapist.

        You protect the child. You keep the child with you. If you believe that your child gave “consent” that she/he wasn’t legally “allowed” to, then you parent the child. You teach your child why it would be a poor choice. Why it goes against your family values. What the implications down the road may be. And why children and teachers shouldn’t parent children.

        I am currently reading Hold on to Your Own (which I think has been mentioned on this blog.) It is unbelievably repetitive and, shockingly, devotes only two paragraphs to homeschooling. But it does go into great depth as to what is going wrong with society these days regarding peer attachment.

        What a sad situation for all involved.

      • dana
        dana says:

        Karen,
        Your stance on this issue is clear, but you seem to have an awful lot of familiarity with this case. Unless you are very close to Kaitlyn and/or her family, there is no way you could know such details.
        Secondly, high school kids date eachother. That is just the way it is. If you are a sophmore, dating a junior over the course of a year or so, one of you will be over 18 and one of you will not be. At that point would you expect them to break up? Never speak again? Should the one that has turned 18 turn themself over to the police?
        I have a hard time believing that ‘everyone’ told Kaitlyn not to go near this girl but she just could not or would not. It’s just unlikely. Also, if the girls parents were SO concerned they could have switched schools.

      • sfreader
        sfreader says:

        “Kaitlyn was given multiple opportunities to walk away from this situation unscathed and she refused them all. She was warned off by her basketball coach and kicked off of the team when she refused to comply. She was warned off by other parents at the school and she refused to leave the girl alone. She was warned off by the younger girl’s parents on at least 2 occasions and she still refused to comply.”

        I’ve found nothing to back up the statement that Hunt was told by the basketball coach to leave the other girl alone; rather, the coach kicked her off the team because relationships between players are not allowed. Whether the coach told her that she was doing anything “wrong” is unknown.

        As for “other parents” warning her off, the only source I know of for that is the younger girl’s parents, Jim and Laurie Smith, who made that claim during their TV “interview.” They also claimed that they warned her off twice.

        However, according to the case report, the Smiths did not even learn about the relationship until February 7, 2013– the day before they went to the sheriff’s office to file a complaint. So exactly when could all this “warning” by the Smiths and other parents have taken place?

  8. Julie
    Julie says:

    Putting eighteen and fourteen year olds together six hours a day, putting them in a peer group together basically, and then making laws that punnish them for the inevitable romances that will form is crazy. I agree with you on this one. I would not call it the “fault” of the schools, but the fault of the society that has structured them in this way. Either the structure of schools needs to change or the laws need to change.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Yes, social problem. And reading through these comments, I realize that so often a parents sees obviously terrible situations in school, but it rarely occurs to the parent that they control their child’s days and they can remove their child from a bad situation. At what point is it insane that parents complain about what’s happening at school instead of taking their kid out of school.

      Penelope

  9. redrock
    redrock says:

    The law was made to protect children who are just in an age where they start to grasp what sexuality is and means. At 14 some teenagers have kids of their own – but I doubt many 14 year olds can completely grasp consequences and meaning of a sexual relationship. The case of an older (and at 18 that means adult) peer exploiting the younger one is a real possibility, and laws are the means to offer that protection. Is 14 an arbitrary number? Not entirely – sure some kids are more grown up the others, but mostly they are at the cusp of developing and experiencing sexuality. An adult who is of voting age should be able to a larger degree to assess the consequences of a sexual relationship and its impact – and part of being an adult is also the exercise of restraint.

    However, I think this question has very little to do with school – contact with many adults and kids of all age groups has been touted here as one of the big advantaged of homeschooling making these kind of encounters and romances rather more then less likely compared to an age-stratified school environment.

    • mh
      mh says:

      redrock,

      “contact with many adults and kids of all age groups has been touted here as one of the big advantaged of homeschooling making these kind of encounters and romances rather more then less likely compared to an age-stratified school environment.”

      Any data?

      • mbl
        mbl says:

        I’m curious also.

        Just speculation on my part, but homeschooling parents, as a group, seem to me to be particularly aware of their children and the nature of their friendships. Maybe it changes as the kids get older, my daughter is 7, but the teenagers that I see are still well supervised.

        I think homeschooled children seem to have both more freedom and more guidance. I think parents are able to know their children well enough to see how mature their decision making is and adjust freedom accordingly. In particular, allow different levels of autonomy in different areas because the parent is privy to their child’s varying levels of abilities. At least this is what I tell myself.

        Sorry, I’m rambling. But I don’t think it naturally follows that greater exposure to a wider range of ages leads to a greater likelihood of affairs. All other things being equal–yeah sure. But there are a ton of differences between homeschooled and state schooled kids.

        • redrock
          redrock says:

          I am not saying there are any data – I am only comparing two statements (without offering an opinion): one of the statements is in the comments here that romantic encounters among very different age groups are to be expected if you put kids with widely different ages into a peer group – and this is said with a negative connotation. However, the fact that homeschool kids are in contact with a much more diverse group age-wise is on the other hand often cited as a pro for homeschooling. My comment was only collecting these two views, which are contradictory in some respect.

          • mbl
            mbl says:

            Sorry. When I read “making these kind of encounters and romances rather more then less likely” and saw the inclusion of “and romances,” I surmised that you were of the opinion that more romances/affairs would occur. For reasons that I stated above, I came to a different conclusion.

            Interesting discussion.

      • Penelope Trunk
        Penelope Trunk says:

        The idea that kids should be with a wide range of other people includes kids and adults. Kids should not be locked in a school with tons of kids and relatively no adults modeling appropriate behavior in the world. School is Lord of the Flies. A fourteen year old who is engaged in self-directed learning and has her choice of doing anything in the world probably would not pick to have sex with an eighteen year old. So many of the choices kids make as teens are a result of our society completely limiting their choices so that there are only bad ones left.

        Penelope

        • redrock
          redrock says:

          My own opinion is that it is a good thing for kids to have conversations, play, discussions and so on with as many diverse people as possible. Was just summarizing a few contradictory views offered throughout the comments.

    • wendy
      wendy says:

      I was thinking along similar lines. It is structured school that helps send a message to society that all children age 10 should be treated one way, taught a certain collection of facts, etc. and 14 year olds are taught different things. Kids are kept mostly in single-age cohorts in school.

      I don’t homeschool but lots of people in my communitty do (because the school board supports it) and those kids tend to have more friends of mixed ages. Their friends are not forced on them by the school system that groups everyone born in a certain year together.

      So I can imagine that as these home school kids hit mid-late teens, it’s far more likely that an 18 year old would end up romatically with a 15 year old, than it is in high school where kids of different ages don’t interact that much and peer pressure tends to put negative associations on such pairings.

    • Julie
      Julie says:

      I am homeschooling a teen. She had participated in mixed age activities but there is also an adult present. And because the homeschooled kids she knows are part of a group we belong to, I also know the kids and their parents. Obviously homeschooling does not prevent all sexual relationships between teenagers. There is nothing that will do that. It would be silly to try. But as a homeschooling parent I am in a much better position to know if she becomes involved with someone, know that person and know their parents. I am in a much better position to intervene at the beginning of a relationship that I think would be bad for her.

      Eighteen year old high school students should not be treated as sex offenders IMHO, basically the same as pedophiles in terms of the registry, for high school relationships that are consensual. And I also have to say that my first boyfriend was eighteen when I was fifteen. I was ten times more mature than he was.

    • Zellie
      Zellie says:

      From questioning homeschooled youth on this topic:
      While homeschoolers may spend time with people in different ages and end up choosing to have romances with them, there is not the same pressure to have boyfriends and and drama of breakups. Sexual relationships seem to be taken more seriously than among schooled peers and, as Penelope mentions, the children are engaged in other things so romances are not at the front of choices to make. Even with sex drives.

  10. channa
    channa says:

    Well if there is a homophobia angle to the story (and I have no idea but there could be in other cases if there isn’t in this one) I see no argument for homeschooling. Homophobic parents keeping their gay kids isolated at home or controlling who they associate with is like the worst possible scenario. Being in a drama-laden teen relationship with someone a little too old for you is unfortunate but being exposed to bigotry and hatred from your own parents is the kind of thing that drives kids to suicide.

  11. Mark Kenski
    Mark Kenski says:

    It is true that Alexander was homeschooled. By Aristotle.

    Still, he provides a useful counterpoint to illustrate the degree to which we have gone beyond “endless adolescence” all the way to the infantilization of teenagers and young adults.

    “In 340, when Philip assembled a large Macedonian army and invaded Thrace, he left his 16 years old son with the power to rule Macedonia in his absence as regent, which shows that even at such young age Alexander was recognized as quite capable. But as the Macedonian army advanced deep into Thrace, the Thracian tribe of Maedi bordering north-eastern Macedonia rebelled and posed a danger to the country. Alexander assembled an army, led it against the rebels, and with swift action defeated the Maedi, captured their stronghold, and renamed it after himself to Alexandropolis.” (http://www.historyofmacedonia.org/AncientMacedonia/AlexandertheGreat.html)

    I agree: government schooling has had the effect of infantilizing children. It renders too many of them incapable of taking responsibility for their actions. As these children grow up and beget children of their own, the infantilization is compounded because there is no parent capable of responsible thought and action to model these things.

    I have no solution for this case, but I can tell you the real solution to the underlying problem, for most of us, in our lives and our families’ lives, and ultimately for society, is to homeschool and raise children into adults who are capable of exercising responsibility–and who, as a matter of character, do so.

  12. Morgan Campbell
    Morgan Campbell says:

    I went to a private school from 3rd grade to 12th grade. The middle school and high school students shared the same building so middle schoolers and high schoolers interacted with each other daily. I always felt that boys my age were immature and I never had any interest in them. At the age of 13, I chose to have a relationship with an 18 year old senior at my private school. We talked on the phone, spent time together at school and outside of school when possible. We also kissed and touched which is typical behavior of teens. My parents absolutely detested the boy because he was “too old” for me and did everything they could to stop the relationship without going to the police. But what would be the point? What’s the difference between me being sexually active with another 13 year old or an 18 year old? Sex is sex and I wasn’t being taken advantage of. It was consensual. People need to realize that children and teens have sex drives and CHOOSE to enter consensual relationships. Now I am not saying that this gives adults the right to enter sexual relationships with children and take advantage of them but we need to understand that kids want to experiment with their peers. In my situation, an 18 year old high school senior was my peer when I was 13 years old. I would have experimented with some boy, maybe not him but my sexual exploration would have happened. Get over it, America. Kids have a sex drive!!

    • Heather Bathon
      Heather Bathon says:

      Amen to that. This case IS about sex and not about school. That the relationship is between two girls is incidental – although perhaps not to the parents – and is the only reason this story is media-worthy.

      Heather

    • CJ
      CJ says:

      Ditto ditto ditto.

      I know myself and my girlfriends wanted college guys as boyfriends when we were in junior high, and by high school, college and working men only. It was the opposite of taboo. It was a pursuit. My husband is actually the first person my own age that I ever had a fling or relationship with that I can remember. He is a wise soul, and we didn’t meet until we were adults. And he freely admits he was really immature until he hit around 20. I had zero attraction to boys my age as a teen.

      Thank you for stating the needed!

    • Drifting
      Drifting says:

      They aren’t adults mentally though, and they cannot deal with the consequences of adult actions at that age. If you have sex at thirteen, you risk getting pregnant at thirteen and needing to support a child, probably alone. You can affect your live drastically with a single instant, and that’s why a lot of the activities we only allow to people old enough to hold a full-time job. It’s just we’ve failed as a culture to impress on kids that you can destroy your life with ill-timed, and even protected sex.

      I think homeschoolers here often suffer from the illusion that because their kid speaks intelligently and is nice, that he somehow is a little adult in miniature. Thing is, a lot of smart kids are very good at parroting words back, or sounding like adults, but they simply don’t have the life experiences to be mature and evaluate risk. This is one of my beefs with unschooling, and I think it’s important to remember that children are still children inside, no matter how polished the exterior could be.

      • MC
        MC says:

        I really hate when people say that teens are not “mentally or emotionally ready to hand the repercussions of sexual realtionships”. I am 23 years old now. I began experimenting with sex at age 13 but did not actually have intercourse until age 19. In the past 10 years I have learned new things and had many life experiences but EMOTIONALLY I HAVE NOT CHANGED. If I sleep with a guy I like and he dumps me, I get hurt. I spend a few days on the couch without showering, watch reruns of Million Dollar Listing New York and eat everything in my refrigerator. I was actually more resilient at age 13 than I am now because now I am actually MORE EMOTIONAL. I actually overreact more now at 23 to a break up than I ever would have at 13. I am thinking about marriage and kids and a future so the stakes are high in terms of dating and sex. When I was 13 years old I had my first orgasm and it was AMAZING. I then told my 18 year old boyfriend that I wanted to have sex and asked if he had a condom. Yes, it was all me. Of course he was smart enough not to ever have full on intercourse with me but whatever. The relationship ended a year later AND guess what??? I’m not scarred for life and that was just the first of many break ups. Kids are smarter and more secure within themselves than adults like to believe. And yeah, I could have gotten pregnant and if I would have my entire “teenhood” would have went up in flames but so what? I’m 23 and if I get pregnant now will my 20s be over? NO! This is why schools and parents need to teach sex education and seriously give these kids contraceptives because they WILL have sex. Okay, my rant is over.

  13. Susanna
    Susanna says:

    Heck from the time I was 13 I preferred men over age 25 (but wasn’t actively dating any). Who can be bothered with teen boys, seriously?

    But my point is at 13 – 14 most people are ADULTS biologically. It is only in the last 100 years we had the term “teenager.” The reason for failure to launch and the reason 25 is the new 15 is because we treat teens like they are 8.

    My 14 year old is 6′ tall and weighs 170 pounds, he’s bright, capable, sensible and logical. I want him to be independent and in control of his life sooner rather than later – because we know what happens when adults are treated like children….

    • Betsy
      Betsy says:

      We have basically had the term “teenager” since we started lumping kids together by age in public schools.

    • CJ
      CJ says:

      John Taylor Gattos YouTube video expresses this exactly. If you haven’t seen it, you’ll love it!

  14. karelys
    karelys says:

    I get it. School was a perfect environment for this kind of thing. And that law is in place so that older people don’t manipulate younger kids into a relationship they wouldn’t fully agree to.

    I live close to Handford, the old nuclear everything plant. Essentially, we are breathing and eating radiation everyday. So not eating one more spoonful of sugar won’t do much to stave off my chances of cancer. I probably have much higher chances for cancer than people living in Oregon. But still, I try my best to stick to healthy living practices. It seems to keep me out of trouble for now.

    I understand the reasoning but I still can’t get behind that environment completely gets rid of personal responsibility. Especially when it comes to things of heart over mind or whatever. It’s easy to make this into a poetic thing. But eventually this girls will be out of the sitter’s sight (school) and will have to fend for themselves. They’ll have to pay off credit card debt racked up because they truly really super wanted something they couldn’t afford at the moment. Debt they signed up for without understanding the APRs and without reading the fine print because credit cards were pushed on them. And they will be held accountable for it.

    Is it a shame that parents and school didn’t prepare them better for life? yes, it is. But the collection company won’t care. Life won’t care.

    I get the argument on this point but I still can’t get behind everything. Not on the post and not on the prosecution’s side either.

    • sfreader
      sfreader says:

      There’s nothing to indicate that Kaitlyn Hunt “manipulated” the younger girl into a sexual relationship. The girls were on the same basketball team, had classes together (because the younger girl was in some advanced classes), and shared the same circle of friends. They clearly regarded each other as peers and equals, not as “adult” and “child.”

  15. Neel
    Neel says:

    I disagree wholeheartedly with the premise of this article and with many of the responses. The developmental differences between a 14 year old and an 18 year old are HUGE. These laws exist because 14 yearold are NOT MATURE period and because much like an older sibling, a significantly older romantic partner can easily manipulate the younger partner to do things that may not be to their benefit. I actually contend that if the 18 year old Kaitlyn Hunt had been a male, the story of the parents of the 14 year old pursuing charges would not be national news. Rather, if it were, we would all applaud them because an 18 year old male could get their daughter pregnant which would destroy her life. To those of you have had sexual relationships in your teens with much older men, while your experiences may have turned out well and may have even been fun, consider that thousands of similar such relationships have resulted in unwanted pregnancies, abuse, kidnapping, rape and severe psychological trauma. Maybe these relationships are socially accepted in some circles but that does not make them right. Consider that in certain parts of the world, such as Afghanistan, a “child marriage” between a 10 year old boy and a 6 year old girl is also socially accepted and there is no doubt in the minds of their parents that they are “ready” to accept such an important social contract. However, I hardly believe anyone on this board or in the western world would accept such a relationship or practice as right.

    With regards to Penelope’s central argument that the confining nature of school naturally results in blatantly illegal sexual activities and therefore, Kaitlyn hunt should not be punished, at what point do you think people should accept personal responsibility. At some point she turned 18 and the relationship became illegal, regardless of whether it was illegal from the start. She has both rights and responsibilities and perfectly capable of understanding the laws regarding her relationship. She was warned of the consequences and made her choices. Finally, while some students do engage in these unequal relationships, the vast majority do not. Those that do often lack parental support at home, a factor that is hardly the fault of the school,

    • CJ
      CJ says:

      If there is any truth to the enormous leap in difference between 14 and 18, these have been imposed, dictated and established by societal norms, not the natural order of things. It is an absolute removal of a person’s rights to force them into “schools,” dictate their annual “curriculum,” and never allow them their citizenry right vote or decide for themselves. And we abuse them this way all in the name of childhood.

      PLEASE watch John Gattos vid on YouTube. It’s only an hour. It will open your view.

      This old tactic of using fear as an argument to dominate young people has got to go away. They have rights. Human rights. Valid rights.

      In this case, Why aren’t more people outraged about the parents failing to protect their child? I think it is because we doubt the 14 yo was ever in any real danger. Teenagers are attracted to teenagers. The archaic law needs to change.

      • mbl
        mbl says:

        “I think it is because we doubt the 14 yo was ever in any real danger.”

        Exactly. Are mandatory reporting laws national? If so, aren’t a whole lot of school officials in violation?

        • CJ
          CJ says:

          My understanding of the laws, especially from the homeschooling realm is that it is all different in each state. But, I also agree that most, if not all’states have clauses that hold the schools administrators, faculty, teachers and support staff complicit in legal cases of abuses within the system walls. I have HSd in three states (CA, WA, and CT) so I know these three well, but would have to explore more for others. If a parent reports abuses in my current state and district- mandatory segregations and various meetings with panels are implemented immediately.

          Good point!

      • redrock
        redrock says:

        I disagree – humans develop and change tremendously during their teenage year, the changes in brain structure, and concomitant cognitive, as well as hormonal development are substantial. While basic personality traits are present in 6 year old, this does not mean they are tiny adults. Some kids are fully developed at 14, most are not. The speed of brain and body development is independent of whether a kid is in school or not. Yes, it is good to give kids responsibilities early on – or let them play – both arguments can be made, but it takes time to fully grow up.

        • CJ
          CJ says:

          Ah yes, and this is where human health and development really gets exciting. Toddlers and teenagers. At no time in human development is there such a dramatic shift, growth-both emotionally and physically, and enlightenment. The trouble with a narrow view of these exact phases is that they are non-established in duration or timing and are quite individualistic. Case in point, we do not admonish a toddler that begins walking at 9 months old (too soon) or at 22 months, (late). We know each child adapts in a window at THEIR OWN PACE. At this stage, months are like decades to say an octogenarian. The several years we societally impose as develomentally “teen” are a wide ranging window of adaptation and growth. I worked and saved at my job and future at 14yo. My baby sister: this didnt happen for her until about 18-19. It is insane to generalize. And surely TMI, she did not hit puberty until an age three yrs older than myself. No surprise. Going back to PT’s career blog and myers Briggs- That alone describes how little we can all fit kids into categories by ARBITRARY ages. What we do know: all pre adolescent children are benefited by letting their childhood be free for as long as possible. During and post puberty, it is our responsibility to support individuality and independence. These are grown ups “in the making.” We are to inform them, not dominate them.

          It is misguided and misleading to discuss 6 yo children in the same context as post-pubescent people. Please don’t cloud the argument. But I will agree with your statement that it all happens regardless of school. The difference: school Fs it all up, just like prisons are meant to.

          • redrock
            redrock says:

            I never denied that there is a bandwidth, and the letter of the law is rarely applied for the 14-18 year olds in relationships with each other. However, the law also has to define an age range in order to be able to prosecute cases where kids under 14 are abused and (indeed this happens) by adults. And surprisingly most abuse of kids and teenagers happens in the home and not in school. Your comparison of prisons and schools does not hold.

          • CJ
            CJ says:

            We agree, adults abusing kids, and the law. Not, teens fooling around with teens.

            Schools take away children’s human and societal rights, exactly as prisons do. It is a fact. Most can’t get their heads around that because at the end of the day, most schools allow “freedom” overnight and it is a convenient social service.

    • sfreader
      sfreader says:

      “The developmental differences between a 14 year old and an 18 year old are HUGE.”

      Only if you’re talking about “averages” and not about specific individuals. Individuals mature at different rates. I’ve seen 12-year-olds who had better judgment and a greater sense of responsibility than people twice or three times their age. Equally, I’ve seen people in their 30s, 40s, and 50s who didn’t have much more emotional maturity than your average six-year-old.

      So, it’s entirely possible that a 14-year-old could be as mature as the average 18-year-old, and conversely, that an 18-year-old might be no more mature than the average 14-year-old.

  16. Erika
    Erika says:

    And what about those cougars, MILFS , jailbaits, fangirls, rich grandpa&could-be-my-daughter etc we’re seeing spread all over the media? Some are applauded and others hypocritically judged. More of a society on trial….

    Ah those times when I fell in love with my teacher or that cute guy 8 years my age. Male, female whatever combo, it doesn’t matter: this happens everywhere. Guidance and education (well def. not in school. Sexual education is a disaster there) is the key. Like why do my hormones make me do stupid stuff? :)

  17. mbl
    mbl says:

    I’m still perplexed regarding the whole 14 year old not able to “consent” thing. If the reasoning is that she is not mature enough or too easily manipulated to make a decision that she might regret later, then how on earth can she be expected to “consent” to helping the police get evidence? Seriously, who could expect a, now, 15 year old who is completely dependent upon her parents to refuse the police’s request to get Kaitlyn to confess on tape? Which is more likely to scar her for life–thinking she was in love and engaging in sexual acts at 14 or agreeing to exploit Kaitlyn’s love for her that may lead to jail time? I really wonder if this girl’s parents have thought this through. I’m afraid their relationship was on shaky ground to begin with and now it will be toast. Even if Kaitlyn doesn’t receive jail time, the 15 y/o will probably always feel that she betrayed K and that will likely wreck havoc with conscience. Somehow, I doubt the fact that she was “legally unable to consent” to the relationship will be much consolation.

  18. the last word
    the last word says:

    I homeschooled my son last year for kinder. I am a teacher so know how wanting school can be. I am still torn because therebis so little supervision. I am still on the fence. Itbis so veal calf mentality to let school take over and babysite your kid for 6 hours when they do a max of 3 to 4 hours. I want a more flexable school. Let me send him til noon or 1 because he likes it but dont send home homework and we can explore topics on our own.
    Values are home taught but I think she should be prosecuted because if a boy of 18 had sex with my girl I would want him to be prosecuted. There are some laws that people keep because they dont want to get in trouble. This needs to be one of those laws. Dont have sex with kids asshole.
    When homework got to be a crying fit I finally told my son dont do it I dont care. I refuse to argue with you. He finally started finishing itbon his own without the fits. But he still did homework til 3:30-4:30. His teacher said homework should only be 15 min. I wish. Before I had kidsbi gave too much homework too. Unless you sit with kids in a family you dont understand the homework nightmare. After time change in the fall it would be dark by the time he was finished. What a waste of a day. I know I should do homeschool I just dont want the stress of work and teaching at home. I used to believe I could do it all. Now I know I can do it all half whatever or I can do a few things well.
    Paernts want a happy medium. Some small school and some hometime schooling like me. We have a charter school out of town. I am going to see if next year school can be more accomodatjng for us.

    School is too long I want our life back. So much is such a waste of time.
    As for the girls parents who are wanting to prosecute the 18 year old the just want to point blame somewhere when it really is the parents fault for not being there. School can change if we demand it.
    I subbed high school many times. Frankly it is a Crazy, scarry, traumatic place. Nothing like school was when I went. They are too big for the most part and not enough supervision.
    For that to change the structure of school would have to change. Fyi. The superintendent at my work makes over 260k a year thats with his 10% cut like we all took. The last guy made 135k. He and the board got pay raises of 40k for the first few years while custodians didn’t even get a cost of living raise. My highschool had 34 per class with 2500 on campus that is less than 80 people raising 2500 children. Now frankly with the internet and different family values. This is a different kind of student. My nearby high school has 20 to 1 and almost 100 teachers. But these students dont want to be bored to death all day. They are finding ways to entertain themselves. Plus with society saying boy girl we are the same. We are not the same.

  19. sfreader
    sfreader says:

    Thank you for writing this– it is an interesting (and, I think, valid) viewpoint that I have not seen anywhere else.

    From everything I’ve been able to find out about this case, it’s clear that the girls regarded themselves as peers and equals, not as “adult” and “child.” They were on the same basketball team and, because the younger girl was in advanced classes, they also had classes together and shared the same circle of friends.

    Their educational and social environment treated them as equals, so is it any wonder that they regarded themselves as such? Did either of them even think for a second about whether it was “legal” for them to engage in sexual activities? I very, very much doubt it.

  20. sfreader
    sfreader says:

    Another thing that I’ve seen almost no comments about, here or elsewhere:

    Sexual attraction is a very peculiar thing. Why are you attracted to one person, but not to another person who has pretty much the same degree of intelligence, looks, personality, etc.? Why does one person turn you on, while another person who is very similar does not?

    Whatever the answer is, it has nothing to do with the other person being a specific age. I remember being a teenager very clearly, and NONE of the “crushes” I had were based on age; they were based on some indefinable “something” that, for lack of a better word, can only be called “chemistry.” One of those crushes was on a teacher who was at least 12 or 15 years older than I was– and if I had had the opportunity to have sex with that teacher, I would have leaped at the chance.

    Why didn’t the younger girl in this case get involved with another 14-year-old instead of with Kaitlyn Hunt? Answer: maybe she was strongly attracted to Hunt, but not to anyone closer to her own age.

    Another thing: it’s entirely possible that the younger girl was the one who pursued Hunt, and not the other way around. From everything I’ve been able to find out, it was an entirely mutual, consensual relationship, entered into equally and willingly by BOTH girls.

    Did it ever cross the younger girl’s mind that she was legally a non-entity who has no sovereignty over her own body? Probably not. She probably thought that her body belonged to HER, not to the state or to her parents or to anybody else, and that SHE had the right to decide what to do with it.

    What would her response have been if someone had told her, “You’re a child. You have no right to decide what you can and cannot do with your own body. The state has already decided that for you”?

    Most likely her response would have been the same as mine would have been at that age: an outraged, indignant, “WHAT????”

  21. Kimberly
    Kimberly says:

    Yes, the sad fact is that it is hard to train up a child in the way they should go if you have given up their training to the school system.

    It’s very hard to predict the outcome of your child’s upbringing, when it isn’t you doing the upbringing.

    Growing up in public school, there was really no right or wrong apart from keeping quiet in class and getting good grades, which is detrimental when you think of all other things you need to survive in this world.

    I can understand if the parent’s moral system was different, but if they feel it is wrong for this to happen then leaving their children for 8 hours a day, with their peers doing who knows what out of the teacher’s eye, is probably not the best option.

Comments are closed.