December 17th, 2013
11:37 AM ET

Student Suspended for Sexual Harassment After Hugging Teacher

To Sam McNair, a 17-year-old high school senior in Duluth, Georgia, it was an innocent hug.

"You never know what someone's going through," McNair told CNN affiliate WGCL in Atlanta. "A hug might help."

It didn't in this case because after McNair hugged a teacher, he ended up with a year-long suspension from Duluth High School, putting his college plans in jeopardy.

"He's a senior; he plays football. He was getting ready for lacrosse season, and you are stripping him of the opportunity to even get a full scholarship for athletics for college," April McNair, Sam's mother, told WGCL.

The elder McNair, who says she and her son call themselves huggers, said she was dumbfounded to learn of her son's suspension after hugging a teacher.

Surveillance video captures the hug in question, showing Sam placing his arms around the teacher and giving her a hug. The teacher then pushes him away.

According to a discipline report obtained by WGCL, the teacher said Sam's lips and cheeks touched her neck and that she had warned Sam about hugging in the past.

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.

In a statement, Sloan Roach, a spokesperson for the Gwinnett County Public Schools, told CNN, "Hearing officers consider witness testimony, a review of the known facts, and a student's past disciplinary history - including long-term suspensions that result in alternative school placement - when determining consequences."

"If a parent has concerns about the outcome of a panel, he or she is entitled to appeal the decision to the Gwinnett County Board of Education," Roach added.

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soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Ginny

    How stupid! This is what happensen you have all these stupid political correct crap. The kid gave a hug big deal. I would sue the crap out of that school.

    December 29, 2013 at 8:38 am | Reply
    • Ginny

      She should not be a teacher!

      December 29, 2013 at 8:40 am | Reply
  2. Sally

    This really bothers me because if the teacher had a problem with the student, then the teacher should have had a parent-teacher conference.

    December 18, 2013 at 12:42 am | Reply
  3. mebeingme

    I wish the Postal Service took sexual harassment seriously. Its like being in the armed forces they cover sexual harassment up. I do in this case feel the teacher went over board. She should have filed a complaint when he did it the first time. I spoke up many times as other victims and nothing happens.

    December 17, 2013 at 6:26 pm | Reply

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