Local News

'Sexual harassment' wording dropped from 6-year-old's school record

District Changes Decision

UPDATE - School District RE-1 said on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 that the "sexual harassment" wording will be removed from Hunter Yelton's school records and replaced with the word "misconduct."

Cañon City Schools Superintendent Robin Gooldy released the following statement to ABC News: "The parents of the student and the principal met this morning. One of the outcomes of the conference was to change the category of the disciplinary offense from "sexual harassment" to "misconduct". The student has returned to school."

Original Report:

CANON CITY, Colo. - A 6-year-old boy is suspended from school in Cañon City for kissing a classmate on the hand.

His mother says it's a crush and the two children like each other. But the school is calling it something else: sexual harassment.

First-grader Hunter Yelton told us he loves science and physical eduction. Also, that he has a crush on a girl at school, who likes him back.

It may sound innocent enough, but at 6-years-old, Hunter now has 'sexual harassment' on his school record.

"It was during class, yeah. We were doing reading group and I leaned over and kissed her on the hand. That's what happened," Hunter said.

So, Hunter was at home on Monday instead of at school.

"They sent me to the office, fair and square. I did something wrong and I feel sorry," he said.

"She was fine with it, they are ‘boyfriend and girlfriend.' The other children saw it and went to the music teacher," said Hunter's mom, Jennifer Saunders. "That was the day I had the meeting with the principal, where she first said 'sexual harassment.' This is taking it to an extreme that doesn't need to be met with a 6-year-old. Now my son is asking questions -- 'what is sex, Mommy?' That should not ever be said, sex. Not in a sentence with a 6-year-old."

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Both Hunter and his mom admit he's had some trouble at school in the past. Hunter has been suspended for rough-housing, and for kissing the same girl on the cheek.

"We've been working with him with the classroom disruption. He was grounded for awhile. Big restrictions," said Saunders.

Reporter Bonnie Silkman asked Hunter, "Are you trying to be good at school? "Yes… I have a lot of energy. I mean 6 year olds? They have a lot of energy," Hunter replied.

The superintendent at School District RE-1 says any school record remains within the district and that Hunter's actions fit the school policy description of sexual harassment.

"How can you do this? How can you say this about my child? Remove sexual harassment, remove it from his record. I'm going to stand up and fight for him because that's not the case, that's not what happened at all," said Saunders.

The school district also says Hunter's parents may believe that kissing the girl at school is overall acceptable -- but that's where the school disagrees. They're hoping the suspension changes Hunter's behavior.

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