Kicked Out of Camp for a Kiss

     BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (CN) – A summer camp had a “uniformed, gun-carrying police officer” kick a 15-year-old girl out of camp for kissing a boy, though counselors had encouraged them to kiss, the girl’s parents say in a lawsuit against the camp.
     Parents C.M. and J.M. sued Camp Emerson in Fairfield Superior Court on behalf of their daughter, Jane. They also sued camp directors Sue Lein and Phil Ryder.
     The parents claim that Camp Emerson, in Hinsdale, Mass., falsely accused their daughter of sexually provocative behavior.
     Jane struck up a friendship with a boy fictitiously named Dick, and it “became the summer romance that most teens yearn for,” the parents say in the lawsuit.
     “This summer romance made plaintiff, Jane, a child of divorced parents who suffers from anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder and treats with a psychiatrist and medications, and who always felt insecure and inferior to her peers, feel confident and beautiful for the very first time in her life,” according to the complaint.
     “Dick and plaintiff, Jane, openly held hands during camp activities and Dick would put his arm around plaintiff, Jane, when they were together.”
     On July 11, at an event with male and female campers, the counselors “kindly and nurturingly encouraged and/or enticed Dick to kiss plaintiff, Jane, because they allegedly knew Dick had never been kissed and they recognized that Dick and plaintiff, Jane, had deep feelings for each other,” the complaint states.
     “Dick nervously kissed plaintiff, Jane, behind the arts and crafts building. This kiss was a beautiful, innocent moment between Dick and plaintiff, Jane.”
     The kiss came during “court time,” which is held on a basketball court, and “refers to an activity during which the boys and girls at camp ‘court’ each other and get to spend time together,” according to the complaint.
     When the male counselors learned of the kiss they “high-fived” Dick.
     But when Sue Lein, the camp director, learned of the kiss she “yelled and screamed at Dick and plaintiff, Jane, in front of other campers and/or counselors, falsely accused them of sexually provocative behavior including removal of each other’s clothing, causing plaintiff, Jane, inter alia, severe emotional distress and/or mental anguish and/or depression and/or extreme anxiety and/or humiliation and/or guilt and/or embarrassment,” Jane’s parents say.
     Jane was kicked out of the camp, “effective immediately,” by a “uniformed, gun-carrying police officer,” her mom says in the complaint.
     Jane’s mother C.M. was forced to postpone an international trip to pick up Jane and her younger daughter from camp.
     The complaint does not state whether Dick was given the boot.
     Jane’s parents claim that the camp ignored the “three-strikes” policy described in its handbook, and that their daughter was treated differently than other campers and counselors caught doing worse things than kissing.
     Other campers and counselors were caught in bed together, or in possession of condoms, or insulting the nutritionist by calling her fat, but were not kicked out of camp or reprimanded, Jane’s parents say. They claim that some counselors were found smoking and drinking alcohol or doing drugs and were not reprimanded.
     The camp refused to refund the $12,900 the parents paid for their two daughters to attend the camp. The family seeks $600,000 in damages for negligent infliction of emotional distress.
     They are represented by Terri Hall from the Law Offices of Rosemarie Arnold, in Fort Lee, N.J.

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