(Photo: Screengrab/KRDO News)
A six-year-old boy has been suspended from school for showing affection to a classmate, something that the school has labeled sexual harassment. But the boy's family is fighting the label of sexual harassment and say that their son meant absolutely no harm.
Hunter Yelton, who is in the first grade at a school in Canon City, Colorado, reportedly leaned in and kissed a girl on the hand. He allegedly kissed the same girl some time earlier on the cheek and was disciplined for that as well. But his family told KRDO News that their son is fond of the little girl and they are "boyfriend and girlfriend."
"It was during class yeah," Hunter said. "We were doing reading group and I leaned over and kissed her on the hand. That's what happened. They sent me to the office, fair and square. I did something wrong and I feel sorry," he added.
"She was fine with it," his mother, Jennifer Saunders, said. "The other children saw it and went to the teacher. That was the day I had the meeting with the principal, where she first said 'sexual harassment.' 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."
However, the school superintendent is sticking to the sexual harassment claim, and told KRDO that Hunter's actions fit the school policy's description of harassment.
"The focus needs to be on his behavior," Superintendent Robin Gooldy told the Associated Press. "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."
Right now there is no legal action pending against Hunter because he only violated the school's policy, not any actual law. Saunders plans to fight the school's decision to put the sexual harassment violation in Hunter's file.
"I'm going to stand up and fight for him because that's not the case, that's not what happened at all. Remove sexual harassment, remove it from his record," she argued.
Many are siding with Saunders and arguing that the school has misconstrued the definition of sexual harassment. They also argue that Hunter's age makes him incredibly innocent of his actions and that he was simply showing affection to another classmate.