Last year, if you told Jennifer Saunders that her six-year-old son would be suspended for school, she wouldn’t have believed you. But if you told her that her little boy, Hunter Yelton, would be suspended for school for “sexual harassment,” she would have told you to get the heck away from her. But now officials at Lincoln School of Science in Canon City had done just that – and suspended Hunter for sexually harassing a female student when he kissed her hand.
Jennifer Saunders is still shocked by what the officials at the school did in response to her son’s “lip attack” on the girl’s hand. However, the school took the “assault” very seriously, given the climate around the Me Too movement. And while Saunders might have been able to understand why her son should have been reprimanded for kissing a girl who did not want to be kissed, she thought they overreacted when he was suspended from school and prevented from going to class for a few days.
Hunter, who is in first grade, liked one of the girls in his class, so he threw himself at her and tried to kiss her hand. He even said that she liked him back – so he figured he’d play the game a little bit and make a move.
“It was during class, yeah,” the boy said. “We were doing reading group, and I leaned over and kissed her on the hand. That’s what happened.”
Saunders felt that her son had done nothing wrong. He was just a little boy expressing his fondness for a girl in his class. It happens all the time. But when the school principal got involved and then dropped the phrase “sexual harassment” during a meeting, Saunders was taken aback.
“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,” she said.
Although Saunders did not feel that her son had done anything wrong, Robin Gooldy, the district superintendent, reported that Hunter Yelton was suspended from school because he violated the girl’s personal space by administering unwanted contact.
Hunter was described as an “offender” for “kissing (cheek and hand)” on the girl he liked.
The superintendent added, “The focus needs to be on his behavior. 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.”
Gooldy said that they have not communicated with the “victim’s” parents and that they are not planning to press charges against Hunter for sexually harassing his classmate.
School psychologist Dr. David Welsh agrees that some policies go too far, but when a school makes a policy like this, they’d better stick to it.
“If you have a policy and procedure and you don’t follow it, it’s hard to defend,” he said.
What do you think about this policy?