Today, I walked up to meet William after school. I wait at the intersection of Water and Third, at the end of the bridge. His school is across the river at the other end of the bridge.
He normally walks with two other boys. One is a great hulk of a boy. The other boy has black hair that completely covers his eyes. They are a noisy bunch and I can hear them before I can see them in the mix of other students walking.
Much to my shock, today, I watched the big kid grab the black haired boy, lean him over the bridge and dry hump him.
The victim was laughing and did not seem unduly disturbed by this behavior, at least no where near as disturbed as I was.
The boys crossed the street to where I was and said their goodbyes. They went their way, we went ours.
"So, William. I have a question. Has that boy ever done that to you?"
His cheeks got very red. "Done what?"
Me: "Simulated sex, as he did with that other boy?"
William was blushing furiously. "No," he said. "He doesn't do that with me."
"Well," I said, "I was a bit shocked that you laughed while it was happening. That isn't funny actually. What if he was bullying another kid? What if he did that to embarrass another boy? What if he did that to a girl?"
Brilliant red cheeks, no reply.
"William, let's be very clear here. What happened was inappropriate at best. At worst, it could be considered a sexual assault, and that boy could be in more trouble than he's ever been in, in his whole life."
Brilliant red cheeks, silence. Nervous glances trying to insure no one was in earshot. (No one was.)
Continuing on, I said, "You need to know, if this boy does this to someone who doesn't want to be touched like that, and you stand there laughing, you become part of the humiliation of another human being. If there are legal ramifications, you'll be interviewed by the police as well. Do you understand this?"
"Yes," he said, red faced.
We walked the rest of the way home in silence.
I hope to God that the big kid has someone that will speak bluntly to him too, before he winds up in big trouble.