Hunter Yelton

Hunter Yelton

A US school has backed down after prompting outrage for accusing a six year old who kissed a classmate on the hand, of sexual harassment.

Canon City schools, near Colorado Springs, backed down after accusing toddler Hunter Yelton of sexual harassment and suspending him after the incident.

After the case attracted international attention, the school claimed that his punishment will reflect “misconduct” instead of some kind of sexual misbehavior.

Yelton’s mom, Jennifer Saunders, told local TV station KRDO the whole thing stemmed from an innocent crush Hunter had on a girl in the class. He kissed her on the hand during reading group. That landed him a two-day suspension from school and an entry of sexual harassment in his school files.

Of course, if this was a pattern of repeated behaviour from the boy, then a stern telling off, light sanctions and a word with his parents would most likely have done the trick.

Instead he was identified as a sexual offender, and had what amounts a serious accusation placed permanently in his files.

While the school has backed down for now, it is unfortunately part of a worrying trend in the US, and in parts of the UK, of schools being too quick to label and over-react to what is more often than not, innocent if annoying, childhood behaviour.

One has to remember in this case that the “offender” is six. In cases like these it is important to explain to children why it is unacceptable to keep doing certain things, instead of suspending them and permanently branding them which in this day and age is likely to stay on his records for time to come, although being six, he most likely does not realise that yet.

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