ATLANTA Dec 17 A suburban Atlanta high school
student has been suspended for a year for hugging a teacher, a
television station reported.
The suspension could derail Sam McNair's chances of
obtaining a college athletic scholarship, his mother, April
McNair told Atlanta station WGCL.
"He's a senior. He plays football and was getting ready for
lacrosse and you're stripping him of even getting a full
scholarship for athletics for college," April McNair told the
McNair, 17, was suspended Dec. 3 after a school hearing
officer ruled he violated the Gwinnett County Schools sexual
harassment rules, the station said. The TV report did not
identify the teacher.
Sloan Roach, a spokeswoman for the school system, told
Reuters she is limited in what she can say about the case since
it is a disciplinary matter.
The McNairs could not be immediately reached for comment.
The station reported the teacher also accused McNair of
kissing her on the cheek and the back of her neck during the
hug. Citing the school disciplinary report, the station said the
teacher said she had previously warned McNair that hugs were
inappropriate. Reuters could not immediately confirm the
contents of the disciplinary report.
In the WGCL interview, Sam McNair said the teacher never
warned him against hugging and says he did not kiss or sexually
harass the teacher.
"Something so innocent can be perceived as something totally
opposite," McNair said.
Roach said the suspension was handed down after a "review of
the known facts." She said school officials take into account
witness testimony and a student's past disciplinary history when
they examine disciplinary issues.
The decision can be appealed to Georgia's State Board of
Education, she said.
WGCL reported that Sam McNair has a school disciplinary
record but not for sexual harassment.
(Editing by Kevin Gray and David Gregorio)