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First-Grader Who Kissed Classmate is International Celeb

September 26, 1996

LEXINGTON, N.C. (AP) _ Taking a break from playing soccer and spying on TV news crews in his front yard, first-grader Johnathan Prevette gave a simple answer when asked why he kissed a girl at school.

``Because you love them and that you’re friends,″ he said.

The 6-year-old boy with blond hair and big, thick glasses has become a celebrity since his school punished him for the kiss. He was separated from his classmates for a day and not allowed to go to an ice-cream party for pupils with perfect attendance.

The boy’s parents have fielded calls from media outlets as far away as Ireland and Australia. Johnathan has already made appearances on CNN, the ``Today″ show and NBC News. Syndicated talk show host Rush Limbaugh invited callers to vent about Johnathan’s plight during his show Wednesday.

``One guy from Florida said he’s sending us $100 to buy ice cream,″ father Calvin Prevette said Wednesday. ``Another guy wants to send us 6 gallons of ice cream. We don’t know where we’d put it.″

Jackie Prevette, the boy’s mother, said she wants the school board to revise its policy on sexual harassment to exempt children in the third grade and younger who have no concept of sexuality.

In a statement Wednesday night, the school denied sexual harassment was ever an issue and defended its decision to punish Johnathan.

``The student was disciplined for violation of the general school rule which prohibits unwarranted and unwelcome touching of one student by another.″

But the High Point Enterprise reported today that the only reference to ``unwelcome touching″ comes under the heading of sexual harassment.

In his own defense, Johnathan maintains his classmate asked him to kiss her. On a separate occasion, he said, she kissed him.

The boy’s parents said Johnathan’s actions were misinterpreted. The girl’s parents have not called to complain about the kiss, they said, and parents of other students have called them to offer support.

``Johnathan is very friendly and affectionate,″ Mrs. Prevette said. ``But he doesn’t understand why he was punished.″

Johnathan may not know why he was punished, but he knew exactly what got him into trouble.

``I kissed a girl on the cheek,″ he said.

And he knows what will happen to him if he tries it again.

``I’ll get suspended,″ he said.

The Prevette’s said their son has never been in trouble at school before.

``He’s a typical all-American boy,″ his father said.

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