Duluth, GA-A Duluth, Georgia, high school senior, just five months away from graduating, has been suspended for a year after he hugged one of teachers in the classroom.

Sam McNair, 17, is a self-professed “hugger” and plays football and lacrosse which earned him a scholarship to college, but all of that is in jeopardy after he was given a year suspension by his schools hearing officer.

Video from a surveillance camera in the class room shows McNair coming up behind his teacher, putting is arm around her shoulders and tuck his head in her neck. The teacher in question can then be seen pushing him away, but she didn’t end it there, she filed a report with school administrators.

In her incident report, the teacher said the McNair’s lips touched her neck and cheek, but he denies trying to kiss her. The teacher said she has warned McNair not to hug his teachers before, telling him it was inappropriate. To him a hug is way to brighten a person’s day.

“You never know what someone’s going through,” McNair told WGCL in Atlanta. “A hug might help.”
But administrators for Gwinnett County Schools think otherwise and suspended him for one year, a ruling his mother is planning on appealing.

Sloan Roach, a spokesperson for the county school board said, “Hearing officers consider witness testimony, a review of the known facts, and a student’s past disciplinary history — including long-term suspensions that result in alternative school placement — when determining consequences.”

The school would not disclose what McNair has been disciplined for in the past since he is a minor. He and his mother April admit he has had discipline problems and has been suspended before, but not for sexual harassment.

“I have 5 months left in my senior year. I don’t see why they’d take that away from me,” McNair told WCG.

Publicity surround McNair’s suspension surface this week, just days after a 6 year-old boy in Colorado was suspended from school for kissing a classmate on the hand and had a sexual harassment charge put on his school record. The Colorado boy’s mother has managed to have the sexual harassment charge taken off her son’s record after the widespread publicity.

People are outraged that schools are disciplining students so harshly for sexual harassment. While the tough rules prohibiting sexual harassment in public schools may be an effective way of teaching young people that the behavior is wrong, but are the punishments going a little too far?

Sexual harassment is a problem on college and university campuses as well as the workplace and it appears as though public schools are taking a much tougher stance on the misconduct than colleges or employers do. Teaching people at an early age is a good way to help demonstrate what sexual harassment is and show people it has consequences as they enter college of the workforce. However, the punishment these young people were given seem to outweigh the severity of their harassment.