Kindergartener with autism punished for hugging at school, family says

National News

EAST RIDGE, Tennessee (KETK) – A Tennessee family says a teacher accused their autistic son of sexual activities after he hugged a child and kissed another on the cheek.

The mother, Summery Putnam, said she got a call from his teacher about three weeks ago.

“She said ‘You need to have a talk with Nathan about boundaries’”.


Putnam said that it’s difficult for Nathan to pick up on social cues because of his autism.

“If you don’t understand how autism works you’ll think he’s acting out or being defiant. But that’s not the situation.”

She claims that his teacher accused Nathan of “sexual activities” after he hugged a child and kissed another on the cheek.

Nathan’s grandmother, Debi Amick, took to Facebook, asking: “What do you do when a 5-year-old child is being labeled a sexual predator and accused of sexual harassment by the school system?”

The school district released the following statement after the incident:

“School personnel are required to concerns regarding children to the Department of Child Services (DCS). It’s up to DCS to determine if those reports are acted on by DCS and what form those actions may take.

The family said that they did have a talk with Nathan about boundaries, but that the school is still in the wrong.

“To bring something like this against a child, a special needs child, really he doesn’t understand what he’s done wrong.”

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