The family of a 5-year-old boy with autism says their child is being punished for giving his classmate a hug.
The boy’s school, East Ridge Elementary in Chattanooga, Tennessee, said the boy overstepped his boundaries. According to WTVC, the school’s principal said staff had spoken with 5-year-old Nathan several times, before calling his guardian to talk about “boundaries” and then filing a report to state authorities.
The child’s family says the whole thing is a big misunderstanding. Nathan’s guardian, Summary Putnam, who was understandably angry, revealed that Nathan was accused of sexual behavior because he hugged a classmate and then kissed another on the cheek.
“I was sick to my stomach. The teacher called me and she said, ‘You need to have a talk with Nathan about boundaries.’” Putnam told WTVC.
“If you don’t understand how autism works, you’ll think he’s acting out or being difficult, but that’s not the situation.” Putnam said.
Putnam also revealed that Nathan can often have difficulty reading social cues as a result of his autism. “We don’t talk about it around Nathan. He doesn’t understand a lot of it and The big issue is this will stay on his record permanently. I have to be his voice because he doesn’t have one.” She told the Epoch Times.
Nathan has since been enrolled in special education services with different classes and different teachers.
Nathan’s grandmother, Debi Amick, posted in a private Facebook post, “What do you do when a 5 year child is being labeled a sexual predator and accused of sexual harassment by the school system? It was disclosed that it will go in his record for the rest of his life that he is a sex offender.
“This child is autistic, he comprehends and functions very different than your typical 5 year. What do you do? Who do you turn to for help when the school will not even listen to the child’s doctor when he explains the child’s difficulties in his comprehension of simple things such as boundaries. If anyone can offer advice or help please do. Please feel free to comment or pm me”
“He shouldn’t be treated like this. The kid doesn’t even understand what sex is.” Amick said.
What is your opinion on this matter? Do you think Nathan was treated fairly? Let us know in the comment section below.