The family of a Georgia student, who has been suspended for a year for hugging a teacher, filed an appeal with the school board Wednesday.
According to CNN, Duluth High School senior Sam McNair, 17, was suspended Dec. 3 for violating the Gwinnett County Public Schools’ rules on sexual harassment.
A surveillance camera captured when McNair entered a classroom, showing him placing his arms around the teacher and giving her a hug. The teacher then pushed him away.
McNair claims he had hugged that teacher at the high school before.
"Four or five times," he told CNN’s Piers Morgan. "I hug all my teachers. It's to show appreciation for what they do for me."
He says he has never been told by the teacher to not hug her again. WGCL reported that the teacher alleged in a discipline report that McNair’s cheeks and lips touched her neck, which he also denied.
"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," Sloan Roach, a spokesperson for the Gwinnett County Public Schools, told CNN in a statement.
"If a parent has concerns about the outcome of a panel, he or she is entitled to appeal the decision to the Gwinnett County Board of Education," Roach added.
The district is prohibited by law from divulging information about the student's situation or past discipline history, Roach said.
The student's mother, April McNair, said she was never notified that her son's behavior this year was a problem, adding that he "is a lovable kid."
She said an appeal was sent to the school board Wednesday, but is concerned about the negative impact the situation will have in her son's future.
McNair said he is more careful about how he now greets people and holds back from a hug if they seem hesitant.