Out on the playground, I deal with a lot of "he said, she said." There are plenty of instances in which, as I approach another youngster with their sobbing accuser close behind me, that the kid will loudly announce "I didn't do nothin'." And so the negotiation begins.
"He hit me," sobs the sobber.
"No I didn't!" screeches the accused.
"Yes you did!" screeches the sobber.
"No I didn't!" sobs the accused.
And so it went, once upon a time. Over the past few years I have modified this process in the interest of saving time and energy. It doesn't take an expert in child behavior and psychology to determine just how real the tears are. Lower lip out by itself without any tear duct production? Runny nose to complement real tears? It's observable. And so is the relative guilt of the alleged assailant. Which is why I ask this question: "What does this kid have to gain by making something like this up?" They want justice, as it is dispensed on the playground.
In the grown-up world, when someone gets hit, or insulted, or demeaned, or harassed, they don't have a teacher in an orange vest to go to. They go to the police. Or the courts. Or the media. The media is where I found Ronald Reagan's son, Michael, sobbing the following: "If women are going to wear low cut dresses that show cleavage don't be harassed when we men look. Or should we sue for sexual arousal?"
Oh, Michael. I don't think you understand exactly what the problem is. Even more obvious from his more direct defense of Bill O'Reilly: "Hot Chocolate used to be a compliment on your looks today it is called sexual harassment."
When kids hit their little counterparts on the playground, they will invariably defend their actions by telling me that they were "just playing." Like that punch in the stomach was a compliment. Or those tawdry comments in the workplace. There doesn't need to be a negotiation here. There shouldn't be a negotiation. It's not a negotiation. It's not right to hurt other people.
End of conversation.