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School called 6-year-old boy’s classroom kiss ‘sexual harassment’ and suspended him

Posted Dec 10, 2013 4:15 PM CDT
By Mark Hansen

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Updated: A 6-year-old Colorado boy was suspended from school for planting a kiss on a classmate.

A first-grade student in Cañon City was accused of sexual harassment, KRDO.com reports.

"They sent me to the office, fair and square. I did something wrong, and I feel sorry," the boy told the station.

Jennifer Saunders, the child's mom, says her son has a crush on the girl and that she likes him back.

"She was fine with it. They are boyfriend and girlfriend," she said of the pair.

However, on her Facebook page, quoted by the Cañon City Daily Record on Wednesday, the mother of the little girl disputes that claim. Jade Masters-Ownbey says that her daughter had asked the boy repeatedly to stop touching her.

The principal called Saunders in to the school for a meeting where she described the incident as sexual harassment.

"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," Saunders said.

School officials say the boy's actions fit the district's policy description of sexual harassment. They're hoping the one-day suspension will change his behavior. Masters-Ownbey said she hopes that people would not "start bashing the school that is doing a great job protecting my child from what is sexual harassment."

After the incident received national press attention and the school met again with the boy's family, the school decided to remove the term "sexual harassment" from the disciplinary file and call it "misconduct."

Related article:

ABAJournal.com: "More schools back away from zero tolerance, including Florida’s Broward County"

Article updated on Dec. 12 to add the school's decision to remove the term "sexual harassment" and to add information from the little girl's mother.

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