A Duluth High School senior has been suspended for one year and won’t graduate on time for hugging a teacher last month.
Sam McNair, 17, was suspended last week when a school hearing officer found he violated the Gwinnett County Public Schools’ rules on sexual harassment.
“Something so innocent can be perceived as something totally opposite,” said McNair.
A video of the hug, captured by a surveillance camera, shows McNair enter a room, place his arms around the back and front of the teacher and tuck his head behind her neck.
According to a discipline report, the teacher alleged McNair’s cheeks and lips touched the back of her neck and cheek.
McNair denied he kissed his teacher or sexually harassed her.
McNair said he regularly hugs his teachers and has never been disciplined for it in the past.
According to the discipline report, the teacher alleged she warned McNair that hugs were inappropriate but he disputes that.
April McNair, Sam’s mother, said she was dumbfounded when she was informed of the suspension and believes the district had a responsibility to notify her if her son’s hugging was becoming problematic before it suspended him and derailed his college plans.
“He’s a senior. He plays football and was getting ready for lacrosse and you’re stripping him of even getting a full scholarship for athletics for college,” said April McNair.
Sharese Shields Ages, an education attorney not associated with the case, said school districts have a responsibility to crack down on sexual harassment but also thoroughly educate students about what constitutes sexual harassment.
“The school district should do a very good job communicating to both parents and students what appropriate contact is between students and teachers and to the extent that they have not done that it was an extreme punishment for the student,” said Shields Ages.
Article and Picture Courtesy of WGCL-TV Atlanta and WOIO 19 Action News
Georgia High School Student Suspended After Hugging a Teacher was originally published on wzakcleveland.com