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Student hugs teacher: 17-year-old suspended from school for sexual harassment

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A student who hugged his teacher because he appreciated her was suspended from school. “I hug all my teachers,” says the high school student. “It's to show appreciation for what they do for me." Unfortunately, 17-year-old Sam McNair’s high school in Duluth in Georgia doesn’t see it this way and suspended the senior for sexual harassment, reported CNN on Dec. 18, 2013.

The incident of the senior high school student hugging his teacher was caught on a surveillance video at the Duluth High School showing how the 17-year-old senior walked up behind his teacher, wrapped his arm around her shoulder, and gave her a hug. The video also shows that the teacher pushes the student away with her forearm.

On Dec. 3, Gwinnett County Public Schools suspended Sam McNair arguing that the senior not only hugged his teacher but also “leaned in” and kissed her on the neck.

Sam McNair, who is a football and lacrosse player, denies having kissed the teacher and emphasizes that he only hugged the teacher as a sign of his appreciation and to cheer her up. “You never know what someone’s going through, you know?” Sam McNair said. “A hug might help.”

However, school officials are saying that the senior had been warned before not to hug a teacher and that he had been suspended for unrelated incidents before. Sam McNair denies having received any prior warning about not hugging a teacher.

After his suspension from high school due to sexual harassment, Sam McNair will not be able to graduate on time and his chance of getting a full college scholarship for athletics has vanished. He is supposed to complete his education in an alternative school setting for the rest of the year.

April McNair, the mother of the student who hugged his teacher because he wanted to show his appreciation and cheer her up, says that they are a family of huggers and that she is shocked that her 17-year-old son was suspended from school for hugging his teacher. April McNair says that she was not told before by the school that her son’s affectionate behavior was a problem. She has filed an appeal with the school board.

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