TAMPA, Fla. - Many of us remember passing a love note to our first crush, but for one Hillsborough fourth grader, a note had school administrators using phrases like "sexual harassment."
"He's 9," said his mother. "What little kid doesn't write love notes?"
This mom says her son passed a very sweet note to his crush.
[Editor's note: We aren't identifying the mother, her son or the school he attends in order to protect his identity.]
"How she wears the same uniform and how her eyes sparkled like diamonds," his mother said.
But soon, she says other students found out about the note and started teasing her son about wanting to see the little girl naked.
"That's when the principal proceeded to tell me that it wasn't appropriate that he was writing the note and that if he writes another note, they are going to file sexual harassment charges on my 9-year-old," the mom said.
Hillsborough school district said they did not threaten to involve authorities. But they did say the boy wrote more than one note and that the notes were unwanted, so that borders on harassment.
"It may be something he thought was very sweet and innocent," said Dr. Valerie McClain, a licensed psychologist in Tampa.
McClain told ABC Action News she doesn't think this is sexual harassment, but she does encourage parents to talk to their child about boundaries -- what is and is not appropriate in a school setting.
"What needs to happen is education needs to be provided about how to relate to this young girl or how to stay away from talking to her, if that's the goal," McClain said.
In the meantime, Hillsborough schools said the problem was not the note itself, but the teasing and disruptions that followed. Spokesperson Tanya Arja said teachers discourage kids from passing notes because it can cause classroom disruptions like this one.
But this mother maintains her son did nothing wrong.
"My 9-year-old doesn't even know what sexual harassment means," she said.