December 11th, 2013
11:16 AM ET

6-Year-Old Suspended for Kissing Girl, Accused of Sexual Harassment

This is another one of those stories that seems absolutely hard to believe.

A 6-year-old boy near Colorado Springs, Colorado, was suspended from school for kissing a girl on the hand. You read that correctly.

"It was during class," first-grader Hunter Yelton said in an interview with CNN affiliate KRDO. "We were doing reading group, and I leaned over and kissed her on the hand. That's what happened."

Not only did Hunter's peck get him suspended from school, but the school accused him of sexual harassment, KRDO reported.

Hunter's mom, Jennifer Saunders, is outraged.

"This is taking it to an extreme that doesn't need to be met with a 6-year-old," Saunders told KRDO. Now my son's asking questions, 'What is sex, mommy?'"

She said Hunter had problems at school before, getting suspended for rough-housing and for kissing the same girl on the cheek. The family has been working with him on "class disruptions" by grounding him and giving him "big restrictions," Saunders said.

Robin Gooldy, the superintendent of Cañon City Schools, told KRDO that Hunter's record will remain within the district and that his behavior fits the school policy description of sexual harassment, which includes unwanted touching.

"Our main interest in this is having the behavior stop because the story is not just about the student that was disciplined, it is also about the student receiving the unwanted advances," Gooldy told HLN. "We have to think about both students in the situation."

Saunders said the girl in question was "fine with it" because Hunter and the girl consider themselves "boyfriend and girlfriend." She wants her son's record cleared of anything suggesting sexual harassment.

"Remove it from his record," she told KRDO. "I need to stand up and fight for him. I can't just let that happen because it's not the case. It's not what happened at all."

Hunter for his part said he feels "sorry" for doing something wrong and tries to be good in school.

"But I just have a lot of energy. Six-year-olds, they have a lot of energy," Hunter said.

They sure do, and as a parent of a 6-year-old and a 7-year-old, an innocent peck on the cheek or on the hand seems as natural for kids this age as declarations of who they plan to marry.

They don't know anything about sex or sexual harassment. So how on earth can they be accused of such behavior?

Reaction online to Hunter's story has been swift, with the majority of commenters expressing pure outrage.

"The school probably traumatized the kid for life with that stupid move," wrote Brenda Esselman on the Facebook page for "New Day."

"Poor child, he's (too) young to even know what sexual harassment is," Ortencia Solis also wrote on Facebook.

"Another example of how we are now overreacting to something as simple as a childhood crush," Benny Barboza wrote.

Eric Vetch, also on Facebook, said he kissed a girl when he was 6. His punishment? "I remember writing on the chalkboard 'I will not kiss girls at school,' and it was a private Christian school ... go figure."

On the other side, there are a small number of people voicing some support for the school's actions.

"The kid shouldn't go around kissing someone's child. Because if it was my daughter, the parents and I would be talking. Let's keep it real," Russell M. Walker wrote on Facebook.

We clearly need to hear more from the school and the school's district because this might turn out to be another case where the pressure to follow set school rules gets in the way of common sense.

We saw this recently with two other stories: the Long Island school heavily criticized for banning most ball playing and even requiring supervision of games of tag while the school yard was under construction, and in Boston, where a student who allegedly went to a party to drive a friend home who was drunk was suspended from playing on her school's volleyball team.

What do you think about this latest case of a school taking a controversial stand? Do you think a 6-year-old should be suspended and accused of sexual harassment for kissing a girl on the hand? Let us know in the comments below.

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  1. Danielle

    I feel like there must be more to this story, especially since it was glossed over that he'd been involved in rough-housing and kissing the girl multiple times. We have the viewpoint of the mother about the girl's opinion, but what about the girl or her parents take on it? I don't care how old my child is - if they know enough to know what is right and wrong, and they're told to stop, then continuing to press physical advances and getting away with it is just teaching bad morals.

    December 23, 2013 at 9:20 am | Reply
  2. Mike Miller

    Maybe we need to take children out of school this is just stupid. Sexual harassment really? What it wrong with people today? A 6 year old has no idea what that even means and you don't use a 6 year old to make a statment like that just plain stupid.

    December 20, 2013 at 9:09 am | Reply
  3. panamamike

    This sensitivity thing in american society is diminishing the respect we get around the world not to mention at home. I would rather not see the end of American society, but you've got to wonder

    December 12, 2013 at 1:32 pm | Reply
  4. robert

    This country is hopeless, when are we going to get a clue.
    what a joke, he is 6 years old, not a real threat to women or girls...

    December 12, 2013 at 12:21 pm | Reply
  5. Lola Campbell

    no because it just really stupid he doesn't even know what that means

    December 12, 2013 at 11:24 am | Reply
  6. Cenla

    I agree with the school. There are plenty of situations where young kids are sexually abusing other children and molesting other children. He needs to know it's not ok. This wasn't his first time getting In trouble for the same thing with the same girl. When I was in first grade I was constantly harassed by a boy named Robert, he'd obviously learned too much at home and even grabbed my a** a few times. I switched to a private school but not everyone can do that, nor should they have to. That kids name is one of two I recall from the first grade, yes, it stuck with me. I'm 39, now!

    December 12, 2013 at 8:07 am | Reply
  7. CrazyAmericans

    Nutty. Only in America would a six year old get slammed with a harassment charge and a student get thrown off a team for driving her drunk friend home.

    December 12, 2013 at 5:04 am | Reply
  8. Adrian

    It seems that the current legal standard of sexual harassment requires the victim feel violated for it to be sexual harassment.
    The article notes that the victim had no problem with his action.

    December 12, 2013 at 2:31 am | Reply
  9. John

    If it wasn't warrented then let the parents deal with it. Why do parents send their children to school better off being home schooled that way you soudn't get a crimmenal record. Children should be put in a space suite that has been autherised by NASA before they go to school.

    December 12, 2013 at 1:34 am | Reply
  10. Bob

    These "educators" should have their "teaching" credentials revoked permanently nation wide and labeled as sex offenders so they could not come within 500 feet of a school or anywhere where children are. They are delusional and obviously have issues with reality. Stupid is as stupid does! Fools all!

    December 12, 2013 at 1:28 am | Reply
  11. kyle Cogan

    To use the term "sexual harassment" is too broad a spectrum being used! you wouldn't do that without consent i know this well enough but if said person is comfortable with it that should be that but not always. I got into trouble when i was in grade 6 for giving a girl a kiss and a cuddle in the schoolyard but there are family ties between me and this girl. she is a second cousin and my grade 6 teacher at the time has family ties with my mother's aunty Murial whose maiden name she shared. It's also a gray area if you can't see as you miss body language and sometimes showing affection is the only way other than verbal communication. Kids that age I.E 6 years old aren't going to know what sexual harassment is and a lot of parents aren't comfortable with talking about such things anyway. and as far as touch is concerned same issue although consent may inically be given but then if it's withdrawn i myself have felt guilty as being the reason for it and is a 5 or 6-year-old child going to know anything about sex? of course not! and i don't like to go on about vision impairment as there is no excuse for unwanted attention whether it's touching somebody or kissing or hugging them.

    December 12, 2013 at 12:55 am | Reply
  12. Jayman

    Another example of how the pendulum has swung too far towards protecting women in regards to this matter.

    December 11, 2013 at 11:28 pm | Reply
  13. Morris Gilmore

    It is a crying shame. Humanity continues to be erased from the equation while we are left with nothing but thoughtless rules. Another step towards a police state. Step out of line and you will be demonized in the worst way, even if you are a six year old.

    December 11, 2013 at 10:56 pm | Reply
  14. Steven DeLuca

    I kissed a girl at school when I was six. Marths Shavara (last name likely spelled wrong) she had a Raven that followed her to school and she and I gave the Raven bread. The raven decided it liked me and she decided she did. We kissed and then were kept in during recess. I don't remember the lesson that I was supposed to get from missing recess. I do remember Martha. That was about, oh, 61 years ago. I don't think either of us were hurt by that. We laughed, even when we were punished.

    December 11, 2013 at 10:04 pm | Reply
  15. Gina Graziano

    I think it is a little over the top. A six year old does not even understand sexual harassment. He does however understand do not touch other students boy or girl. And no kissing the girls. Enough said.

    December 11, 2013 at 7:52 pm | Reply
  16. Amanda

    I think there should be some sort of disciplinary action, to teach Hunter that this is not appropriate behavior, but suspension and accusation of sexual harassment? That's blowing it overboard, especially for a 6 year old! It's even more ridiculous because sexual harassment indicates 'unwanted advances' and if it's true they consider themselves boyfriend and girlfriend, a sort of puppy love romance, then it's not unwanted, is it? Now kissing of any form in a school setting, especially class, is not acceptable behavior at any age. You wouldn't even see two married college students kissing in the middle of their Calculus class, but teach him it's inappropriate and move on. I do realize it said he'd kissed her on the cheek before, so it wasn't the first time, in which case perhaps more serious action should be taken, but I still think it was innocent and harmless. On the first offense, give him a warning that it's not appropriate behavior in the classroom. Second offense, maybe a time out or something at his age, to reiterate the inappropriate nature of the action. Third offense, in school suspension or after school detention would be reasonable at this point. Anything after three, then I might consider suspension as it is a repeated problem behavior for which conventional discipline is not effective. Give the kid a break. He's 6 and he's just learning his boundaries when it comes to physical contact. He's not sticking his hand down her pants or French kissing her or something like that!

    December 11, 2013 at 7:17 pm | Reply
  17. Gregc

    Our culture is going insane. This is just another example of the disease.

    December 11, 2013 at 5:58 pm | Reply
  18. Chuck Boles

    This has to be one of the dumbest things I have ever heard about. 6-year old boys and girls know nothing sexual. They might, however know something about being nice. The school should be ashamed of its actions.

    December 11, 2013 at 5:31 pm | Reply
  19. Glenda

    Absolute INSANITY!!! The school principal (or whoever suspended this child) is in the wrong profession! We have become a nation of idiots!

    December 11, 2013 at 5:16 pm | Reply
  20. Amanda

    Start a petition. This is ridiculous!

    December 11, 2013 at 4:29 pm | Reply
  21. Gulsen Demokan

    The school administration personnel are the sick ones. If I am his mum I would take my son from that school. Is also America going backward like the 3 rd world countries ? Wake up America before it is too late!

    December 11, 2013 at 1:51 pm | Reply
  22. Rader

    The school's lack of common sense has thrown this poor child into a subject that I'm sure the parents did not want the child to know about so soon.. why isn't there a law against that ?

    December 11, 2013 at 1:35 pm | Reply
  23. Sampagita

    Ok seriously this is truely going over board they are 6-7 yrs old we teach our kids to be kind and caring show them affection at home with hugs and kisses and now he is being punished for it To the parents of the little girl I would hope to god you would not let this happen unless there is way more to the story defend the little boy instead of doing what has been done things so ridiculous like this can scare chilren for a life time is this really nessesary could the teachers and parents of both sides just have gotten together and talk with the children instead of making this a story in the paper and on the news! Really and people wonder why i never watch the news.

    December 11, 2013 at 1:27 pm | Reply
  24. nikki

    This really pisses me off.....he was being a sweetheart to his little friend and some twit is making it sound sick, shame on that school for making a little boy who did noting wrong feel like he did. he is 6 for godsake and does not even know what sexual harassment even is and to put in in his school record is messed up. whoever saw this a sexual is the one that needs the help freakin sicko. Nothing like messing up a young childs view on life. I saw him on tv saying that he knows he did something wrong.....Um No honey you did nothing wrong at all. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr........I want to write that school and give them a piece of my mind. if i was his parents i would be livid.

    December 11, 2013 at 1:02 pm | Reply
  25. MomaCat

    It's because parents are so willing to sue the schools, so blame yourselves not the schools. They're just trying to protect themselves from parental lawsuits from people looking to win the lawsuit lottery. Oh, and define common sense? What is common for one may not be common to others, especially where money or being right is concerned.

    December 11, 2013 at 12:43 pm | Reply

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