A family claims that their five-year-old who has autism was reported by his school for “sexual activities,” after hugging a classmate.
East Ridge Elementary staff in Tennessee say they informed his guardian how the boy, named Nathan, had been “overstepping his boundaries,” and that teachers had talked with him “several times.”
But his family say it has been a massive misunderstanding and claim the school has filed a report with the state on the incident.
His guardian, Summery Putnam, shared:
“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 how Nathan has autism and he has trouble understanding social cues.
“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 revealed to the news outlet how Nathan’s teacher told her he had “overstepped boundaries” and was accused of “sexual activities” after hugging a classmate and kissing another kid on the cheek.
A spokesperson from the Hamilton County Department of Education, Tim Hensley, 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 is of the belief that the school has made the wrong call, Putnam adding:
“He doesn’t know what he’s done wrong.”
She shares that he has since been moved to a different classroom with new teachers and he is now enrolled in “special education services.”
His grandmother Debi Amick wrote to in a Facebook post the following:
“What do you do when a five-year child is being labeled a sexual predator and accused of sexual harassment by the school system?”
She continued on, saying:
“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].”