High School Senior Suspended For One Year, Won’t Graduate on Time, Because He Hugged a Teacher

hug a teacher get suspendedA seventeen-year-old student giving his
teacher a hug might not be nearly as self-evidently innocent as one
kissing another
on the cheek, but it’s hard to imagine how the
action justifies a one year suspension.
Via CBS Atlanta

A Duluth High School senior has been suspended for one
year and won’t graduate on time for hugging a teacher last

Sam McNair, 17, was suspended last week when a school hearing
officer found he violated the Gwinnett County Public Schools’ rules
on sexual harassment…

According to a discipline report, the teacher alleged McNair’s
cheeks and lips touched the back of her neck and cheek. 

McNair denied he kissed his teacher or sexually harassed

McNair said he regularly hugs his teachers and has never been
disciplined for it in the past. 

According to the discipline report, the teacher alleged she warned
McNair that hugs were inappropriate but he disputes

April McNair, Sam’s mother, said she was dumbfounded when she was
informed of the suspension and believes the district had a
responsibility to notify her if her son’s hugging was becoming
problematic before it suspended him and derailed his college

You can watch surveillance video of the hug that’s part of the
news segment
(screen capture’s to the right).

McNair’s mother makes a salient point. A one-year suspension for
a non-violent act is certainly a gross over-reaction, more so given
that McNair appears to have been otherwise scheduled to graduate at
the end of the school year, even if he had previous (non-sexual
harassment related) suspensions. His mother even believed her son,
a student athlete, may have been able to qualify for college sports
scholarships, a hypothesis that won’t even be able to be tested
now.  And Sam McNair won’t get as much “due process” for the
claim of sexual harassment against him as
teachers tend to

The whole premise of public schools is to offer universal access
to education. Some opponents of charter schools complain
that their ability to “select” students contributes to disparities
in access to education. The argument is flimsy. Around the country,
school choice is becoming more popular. In two of New Jersey’s
poorest cities, Newark and Camden, a full
one in five students
now attend a charter schools, much to the
satisfaction of those students’ parents. Demand for charter schools
almost always outpaces supply, which is artificially throttled by
government restrictions. But here’s a public school that’s decided
to deny a student access to education for an entire year for
something that didn’t physically harm anyone or anything, for
something, in fact, that some teachers advocates actually
“Hug a teacher today”
, after all, is a thing, one for which
restrictions clearly apply.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/13/high-school-senior-suspended-for-one-yea

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