A Georgia high school senior won’t be graduating in June after being hit with a one-year suspension for hugging a teacher.
Sam McNair was suspended from Duluth High School in Gwinnett County for alleged sexual harassment after his teacher hug was caught on surveillance video in the school (see embed above). The teacher, who appears on the video to seemingly pushing him away, claimed that the student’s cheeks and lips came in contact with her neck and check. The teacher in question also claimed that she had previously warned McNair against giving inappropriate hugs to teachers.
McNair denied any form of sexual harassment when he hugged the teacher, and the hearing officer’s decision apparently can be appealed to the Gwinnett County Board of Education. “Something so innocent can be perceived as something totally opposite,” said McNair, 17.
McNair’s mother told local media that school officials should have notified her of any hugging-related issues before kicking her son out of school, a circumstance which is wrecking his college plans, which included a sports scholarship.
According to CNN, “Asked if he kissed the teacher, Sam told the television reporter he did not. He said he has hugged teachers many times before, including this teacher, and has never been warned.”
Gwinnett County is located in the Atlanta suburbs. The school system has declined thus far to comment on the hugging/sexual harassment case because of confidentiality requirements.
A petition has been posted to Change.org calling for the Georgia legislature to overturn the teen’s year-long suspension.
The teen was reportedly subject to previous disciplinary action at school but never for sexual harassment.
In a related development, a Colorado school decided to drop a sexual harassment claim against a six-year-old who kissed a female classmate on the hand.
Do you think Georgia school officials overreacted when they suspended a senior for hugging a teacher on alleged sexual harassment grounds?
[thumbnail image credit: Smellyavocado]