6-year-old suspended for kissing girl, accused of sexual harassment

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COLORADO -- This is another one of those stories that seems absolutely hard to believe.

A 6-year-old boy near Colorado Springs, Colorado, was suspended from school for kissing a girl on the hand. You read that correctly.

"It was during class," first-grader Hunter Yelton said in an interview with CNN affiliate KRDO. "We were doing reading group, and I leaned over and kissed her on the hand. That's what happened."



Not only did Hunter's peck get him suspended from school, but the school accused him of sexual harassment, KRDO reported.

Hunter's mom, Jennifer Saunders, is outraged.

"This is taking it to an extreme that doesn't need to be met with a 6-year-old," Saunders told KRDO. Now my son's asking questions, 'What is sex, mommy?'"

She said Hunter had problems at school before, getting suspended for rough-housing and for kissing the same girl on the cheek. The family has been working with him on "class disruptions" by grounding him and giving him "big restrictions," Saunders said.

Robin Gooldy, the superintendent of Cañon City Schools, told KRDO that Hunter's record will remain within the district and that his behavior fits the school policy description of sexual harassment, which includes unwanted touching.

"Our main interest in this is having the behavior stop because the story is not just about the student that was disciplined, it is also about the student receiving the unwanted advances," Gooldy told HLN. "We have to think about both students in the situation."

Saunders said the girl in question was "fine with it" because Hunter and the girl consider themselves "boyfriend and girlfriend." She wants her son's record cleared of anything suggesting sexual harassment.

"Remove it from his record," she told KRDO. "I need to stand up and fight for him. I can't just let that happen because it's not the case. It's not what happened at all."

Hunter for his part said he feels "sorry" for doing something wrong and tries to be good in school.

"But I just have a lot of energy. Six-year-olds, they have a lot of energy," Hunter said.

They sure do, and as a parent of a 6-year-old and a 7-year-old, an innocent peck on the cheek or on the hand seems as natural for kids this age as declarations of who they plan to marry.

They don't know anything about sex or sexual harassment. So how on earth can they be accused of such behavior?

Reaction online to Hunter's story has been swift, with the majority of commenters expressing pure outrage.

"The school probably traumatized the kid for life with that stupid move," wrote Brenda Esselman on the Facebook page for "New Day."

"Poor child, he's (too) young to even know what sexual harassment is," Ortencia Solis also wrote on Facebook.

"Another example of how we are now overreacting to something as simple as a childhood crush," Benny Barboza wrote.

Eric Vetch, also on Facebook, said he kissed a girl when he was 6. His punishment? "I remember writing on the chalkboard 'I will not kiss girls at school,' and it was a private Christian school ... go figure."

On the other side, there are a small number of people voicing some support for the school's actions.

"The kid shouldn't go around kissing someone's child. Because if it was my daughter, the parents and I would be talking. Let's keep it real," Russell M. Walker wrote on Facebook.

We clearly need to hear more from the school and the school's district because this might turn out to be another case where the pressure to follow set school rules gets in the way of common sense.

We saw this recently with two other stories: the Long Island school heavily criticized for banning most ball playing and even requiring supervision of games of tag while the school yard was under construction, and in Boston, where a student who allegedly went to a party to drive a friend home who was drunk was suspended from playing on her school's volleyball team.


    • jennifer b

      I understand how the little boy’s mother feels because my 5 year old son was accused of touching other students in a sexual manner at Berea Jr. Academy, located in Sumter, South Carolina. The thing is my son is disabled, verbally and for him to say the sexual words that he was accused of was unbelievable and also impossible according to his Speech Therapist at the time. But once the stigma is placed on your child it continues and it did even into first grade he was accused of everything because he was mislabeled the previous year. No matter how I explained to the school that my son had to unlearn the behavior of touching to speak, to make some of the other parents happy my son was allowed to be bullied and in my husband and I opinion harassed by the other teachers.

  • Mark Stabler

    Most school systems have are operated with no common sense at all. They are more concerned with hiring specialist, consultants, coaches, athletic directors and central office staff than good teacher that are given the authority and responsibility to teach children. Drive by any central office and see how many cars are parked there. Check and see how many employees your school system has that do not teach. You’ll be surprised.

  • carlajefferies

    This poor child has no understand of the word sexual harassment. The schools need to get back to teaching children. It seem to me the school is the one doing the harassing by pulling a rule like this in place for a child of this age. SHAME ON THEM

  • JC

    The school board and faculty need to take some tolerance and anger management courses! I wonder what they would have done if it were a boy kissing a boy? Probably nothing considering the leftist liberal academia pushing homosexuality in the classrooms.

    • Jennifer Benjamin

      I think so many times that we live in a world of “what ifs?” It is almost like catching the flu or a cold…once it spreads then everyone becomes afraid of absolutely nothing. It is horrible for adults to assume that children(2014) have to be as wise as they are; however they forget that children still learn what they are taught. If you teach a child to only play with certain children of the same race or income group then a child will grow to feel that way. My 3 yr. old daughter loves to hug and blow kisses to everyone does that mean that she is predestined to be a prostitute? I believe that people are becoming more afraid of the world around them so parents have to protect there children even from being falsely accused of anything.

  • Chucky1992

    Well my reaction at first was of disbelief. Suspension seemed like over kill. Then while watching the story, the mother admitted this was not the first time he had been in trouble and said they were dealing with that. The boy said that he had a lot of energy. That, quite frankly, sounds like an excuse the mother would say to defend or justify a childs actions, not a child’s excuse. I think there may be a lot to this story than we know.

  • Retired educator

    This is happening more and more in government schools. There is a concerted effort from the left to marginalize boys- their MO is to tag them early so they carry the shame (and record of the crime of sexual harassment. This is promulgated as part of the let’s attempt tp ‘wussify’ American males.
    And yes- it is the left- coordinated by the teacher’s union.
    Time to steamroll these hateful anti American indoctrinators.

  • Debbie

    My daughter will have to set her 4 yr old daughter down and give her a good talking t if kids are being suspended for nonsense like this. My grand daughter says she is married to her little classmate. She’s in preschool. Kids have done this sort of thing forever. It seems like the school board needs to use common sense before suspending somebody. That being said, I too think there is more to this story than is being told. The comment made by the child was clearly something he has heard used to condone his behavior.

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