A Tennessee family is claiming that their autistic 5-year-old, Nathan, is being called a sexual predator over a kiss on the cheek and a hug. This seems a bit extreme. Nathan’s grandmother spoke out about the incident on Facebook trying to alert the local news and seek help.
“What do you do when a 5 year child is being labeled a sexual predator and accused of sexual harassment by the school system? It was disclosed that it will go in his record for the rest of his life that he is a sex offender. This child is austic, he comprehends and functions very different than your typical 5 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. Please feel free to comment or pm me.”
“The teacher called me and she said, ‘You need to have a talk with Nathan about boundaries,'” Summery Putnam, Nathan’s guardian recalled to WTVC, adding that the teacher said Nathan hugged a child and kissed another on the cheek — and that the school filed a report with the state.”
Watch The Clip Below.
The school has responded to the claim and denies the allegations. The school also implied that there was more to the incident that they are not allowed to disclose.
“Hamilton County Schools is committed to the safety and well-being of all students. Our school leaders work to serve our families and meet the needs of our diverse learners. This family’s characterization of the incident with their child at East Ridge Elementary does not capture the full context of the concerns expressed to them by the school. It was not a hug or kiss that prompted the school to contact the family. Also, at no time did the school administration punish the child or treat the incident as a discipline issue. Moreover, no one at the school sought to label the child as “a sexual predator.”
Hamilton County Schools is bound by student privacy laws that do not allow us to discuss publicly specific details of what happened in the classroom setting with the child. Of course, at the family’s direction and with their written approval, the district would be able to provide to interested parties documentation of the issues the school discussed with them.
The staff at East Ridge Elementary always elects to take action that places the concern for the child as their top priority – which is also required by our district policies and state laws. School leaders are only interested in the well-being of this very young child as he grows and learns with his classmates. The faculty and staff will continue to ensure that this child and every child in our care receives an excellent education in a safe, supportive learning environment.”
I am not sure if this is just the school trying to save face or if more happened. But if the allegation ends up being true, this school needs to retrain their teachers. A five-year-old is just trying to be nice, there is nothing sexual about a hug or kiss on the cheek when they are this young.