Family Say Five-Year-Old Boy Is Being Investigated By School For Hugging Classmate
A five-year-old boy who has autism was reported by his school for 'sexual activities' after hugging a classmate, his family claim.
Staff at East Ridge Elementary in Tennessee say they told his guardian that the boy, named as Nathan, had been 'overstepping boundaries' and that teachers had talked with him 'several times'.
However, his family say it's been a big misunderstanding and claim the school has since filed a report with the state over the incident, though the school is yet to confirm this.
His guardian Summery Putnam told WJLA: "I was sick to my stomach. The teacher called me, and she said, 'You need to have a talk with Nathan about boundaries.'"
She explained that little Nathan has autism and, as such, struggles to understand social cues.
She said: "If you don't understand how autism works, you'll think he's acting out or being difficult. But, that's not the situation."
She told the news outlet Nathan's teacher told her he had been 'overstepping boundaries' and was accused of 'sexual activities' after he hugged a classmate and kissed another kid on the cheek.
Tim Hensley, a spokesperson from the Hamilton County Department of Education, said in a statement: "School personnel are required to raise concerns regarding children to the Department of Child Services (DCS). It's up to DCS to determine if those reports are acted on by DCS and what form those actions may take. "
But Nathan's family strongly believe the school has made the wrong call. Putnam added: "He doesn't know what he's done wrong."
She said he has since been moved to a different classroom with new teachers and that he's enrolled in 'special education services'.
In a Facebook post to WCTI NewsChannel 12, his grandmother Debi Amick said: "What do you do when a five-year child is being labeled a sexual predator and accused of sexual harassment by the school system?
"This child is autistic, he comprehends and functions very different than your typical five-year. What do you do?
"Who do you turn to for help when the school will not even listen to the child's doctor when he explains the child's difficulties in his comprehension of simple things such as boundaries. If anyone can offer advice or help please do. [sic]."
She went on to add that he's a child and 'doesn't understand what sex is'.
LADbible has contacted East Ridge Elementary School for a comment.
Featured Image Credit: WJLA
Topics: US News