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.

For more on this story: http://www.cbsatlanta.com/story/24209980/student-suspended-for-a-year-for-hugging-teacher

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.

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