As a result of kissing a fellow first-grade girl's hand during class, 6-year-old Hunter Yelton now has a stigma on his permanent record, the Christian Science Monitor website reports today (December 11, 2013).
His Colorado school district has a zero-tolerance policy on sexual harassment, which school officials maintain the boy violated with his kiss. The boy was suspended from first grade at Lincoln School of Science and Technology in Canon City, Colorado. His mother -- who may take legal action against the suspension -- is protesting the school's actions as extreme and not age-appropriate.
The case is gaining national attention through social media, with many suggesting the response is a zero-tolerance policy taken too far. School officials -- who are not responding to media requests -- have told local media that the boy's buss fits district standards for sexual harassment.
"Zero tolerance policies in schools have not been shown to work," said Nadine Block, a child psychologist and author of "Breaking the Paddle: Ending School Corporal Punishment." She added, "This is just another example of going overboard on rules in schools that need to be more flexible. Rather than a rush to punishment, schools should be looking for ways to teach appropriate behavior instead."