Student Suspended for One Year Because He Hugged a Teacher

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DULUTH, Ga. (WHNT) – Gwinnett County Public School District near Atlanta, Ga., suspended a high school senior for hugging one of his teachers.

Sam McNair, 17, faces one year of suspension because the hug violated the school system’s sexual harassment policy. That one hug comes between McNair and an on-time graduation.

McNair said he wanted to brighten a teachers day with the hug that has now cost him high school career. The suspension also leaves McNair in a lurch by jeopardizing his college plans.

The teacher McNair hugged said it was inappropriate, though .Surveillance video shows McNair putting his arms around his teacher and then tucking his head behind her neck.  The teacher said McNair’s lips touched her cheek and neck when he gave her the hug. The 17 year old denies this happening. McNair claims he’s hugged teachers at his school before, including the teacher accusing him of harassment, but he has never been warned before.

April McNair, Sam’s mother, said she should have been notified before her son was suspended if the school had a problem with him. She said her son plays football and has been getting ready to play lacrosse. The upset mother said this strips her son of scholarship opportunities.

Sharese Shield Ages, an educational attorney, said school districts should crack down on sexual harassment cases, but it was the school’s responsibility to thoroughly educate students on sexual harassment boundaries.

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We want to know what you think. Were the school system’s actions justified, or did they go too far with their punishment. Post your comments on our Facebook page. We’ll share some of your answers in your news at 9 on WHNT 2.


  • You-know-who

    Come on. Seriously. Do the schools system have nothing better to do then suspend students for “sexual harassment”. The punishment is waaaay to extreme.

  • Michael

    In the corporate world, one must be told “no” and repeat the behavior before it is harassment. If he was never told no, then it can’t be harassment.

  • cindy bender

    wow people so worried about a simple little gesture like this but lets other stuff go on in the school, grouping and sexual contact between kids. and then look outside the window of life go after the children parents that is doing the bad stuff to them at home that you are turning your head on. bull crap going to mess a young mans life for this and let child rappers go back out on the street. eyes are being shut some where they should not be.

  • Mz Michelle

    No offense intended but schools are getting a little out of control with some things now. Seriously? First of all the student had to get close enough to her to hug her. Did she put her hand out and say anything to him BEFORE he went in for the hug? Perhaps if she had said (even after) “Thank you for trying to console me but its inappropriate for students to hug teachers.” or something to that effect. I mean come on.

  • Angela Puckett

    This is plain stupidity! There is no wonder why we have one of the worst education systems in the world. Teachers today are nothing like the teachers of my time. We were able to cry on their shoulders, tell them our problems and they usually would find a way to help any way they could, whether that was a hug or just sitting down and talking to us. Please stop this insanity! This student should NOT be suspended! Grow up people, teach our children and give them the best possible education you can. They deserve it!!!

  • Sue

    It does not sound like it was sexually motivated. I say like the others here- this is ridiculous! Do not ruin this boy’s life over something so stupid!!!

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