UK & World News
Six-Year-Old Suspended For Kissing Schoolmate
The suspension of a six-year-old boy for kissing a girl at school is raising questions about whether the peck should be considered sexual harassment.
The boy's mother said officials at Lincoln School of Science and Technology in Canon City, Colorado, are overreacting.
Jennifer Saunders said her son was suspended once before for kissing the girl and had other disciplinary problems, and she was surprised to find out that he would be forced out of school again for several days.
Hunter Yelton said he has a crush on a girl at school and "she likes him back".
"It was during class, yeah. We were doing reading group, and I leaned over and kissed her on the hand. That's what happened," he said.
Ms Saunders said she saw nothing wrong with her son's display of affection.
She said she punished him for other problems in school, including "rough-housing", but was shocked when the school's principal brought up the term "sexual harassment" during a meeting.
"This is taking it to an extreme that doesn't need to be met with a six-year-old. Now my son is asking questions. 'What is sex mommy?' That should not ever be said, sex. Not in a sentence with a six-year-old," she said.
District superintendent Robin Gooldy said the boy had been suspended because of a policy against unwanted touching.
"The focus needs to be on his behaviour. We usually try to get the student to stop, but if it continues, we need to take action and it sometimes rises to the level of suspension," he said.
David Welsh, a school psychologist, said some policies that bar bullying, harassment and weapons on public school campuses may go too far.
But he said school boards are being forced to develop strict policies because of a large number of complaints being reported by students and teachers who face consequences if they keep silent.
"If you have a policy and procedure and you don't follow it, it's hard to defend," Mr Welsh said.
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