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Old 17th March 2006, 20:33   #1
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'Tit Twisting' letter from teachers upset parents.

GREENFIELD - The word is out at the Middle School - students are sick of so-called boy-on-boy sexual harassment that sometimes masquerades as camaraderie and other times is just plain painful, students said yesterday.

However, there are some parents and School Committee members who were not happy with how the word got out. The news went out in a letter sent on Feb. 9 to the parents and guardians of 76 boys and girls on one of the school's educational teams - Team 8A. Four teachers signed the letter - Bill Burnham, Shelly Beck, Kim Denney, and Leslie Kelly.

The one-page letter from the teachers was accompanied by a one-page list of behavioral issues among students on the team. The list was compiled by students and was in their language.

The one item among seven that shocked the committee members, plus a few parents, was a student concern that read: "Behavior that can be considered sexual harassment: ball tapping, tit twisting, pantsing."

Eighth-grader Kayla Manton said her father was not happy with the letter.

"He didn't think it was a good idea to write it, because it was vulgar," she said.

Then she explained to her friends the meaning of the word vulgar.

Other students said their parents were shocked by the letter, but calmed down after their children explained the terms.

It is apparently a problem that is rampant throughout area middle and high schools, said mathematics teacher Denney yesterday in a telephone interview. A middle-school nurse had one sixth-grade boy show up with bleeding nipples one day, she said.

Sixth-grader Zachary Howes said the things boys do to each other are a common occurrence at the school.


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