A high school student in Duluth, Georgia has been suspended from school for one year after he was caught on surveillance camera hugging a teacher.
17-year-old Sam McNair won’t be able to graduate on time and will be forced to forfeit a full athletic scholarship because of the incident that school officials say violated their sexual harassment policy.
The surveillance video shows McNair walking up behind his teacher, wrapping his arms around her, and hugging her with his head behind her neck. The teacher claims that McNair’s cheeks and lips gently touched the back of her neck and her cheek, but McNair says that’s not true.
"Something so innocent can be perceived as something totally opposite," said McNair.
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The school found McNair guilty of violating their sexual harassment code, but McNair’s mother April says that they are a family of “huggers” and what he did was completely innocent. April says that she was never notified of the situation before the school suspended her son and that they shouldn’t have jumped to suspension right off the bat.
"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," said April McNair.
Sam McNair says he hugs most of his teachers and thinks being disciplined so harshly for showing someone else affection is wrong.
"You know what someone's going through,” said McNair. “A hug might help,"
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The school would apparently not comment on the specific incident, but did say that a lot of factors are taken into consideration when determining how to discipline a student.