CAÑON CITY, Colo. — A Colorado Springs 6-year-old was suspended from school this week for kissing a girl on the cheek and hand, according to a report.
KRDO reported that Lincoln School of Science and Technology suspended first grader Hunter Yelton for two days for two separate kissing incidents. Yelton’s parents are furious, saying this is all a misunderstanding and that the two kids are young crushes who like each other.
The school is calling it something much different: sexual harassment. A child psychologists is saying the school is sending the wrong message in dubbing the Yelton’s behavior as such.
“I don’t think a 6-year-old would understand what harassment is,” Sandy Wurtele, a child clinical psychologist at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, told KRDO. “That has some longer-term implications.
“For most 6-year-old boys, absolutely, (kissing) would be a normal behavior. Learning about it is part of development and is just as important — if not more — than learning in an academic sense.”
Instead, Wurtele said the school should use this incident as a chance to teach some social development lessons to its students.
“For so long, we’re like ‘Oh no! Don’t kiss. Don’t talk about it. Don’t ask questions,’” Wurtele said. “The school has an opportunity to move the dialogue away from ‘we don’t do this ever’ to ‘what situations is this acceptable?’”
While Yelton’s mother, Jennifer Saunders, admits that her son has hand some issues at school — he has also been suspended for rough-housing — she said the whole situation has been blown out of proportion.
“She (the girl) was fine with the kiss,” Saunders told KRDO. “The other children saw them kiss and went to the music teacher. The principal then calls it ‘sexual harassment.’ … Now my son is asking questions. ‘What is sex, mommy?’ Sex should not ever be said in a sentence that involves a 6-year-old.”
While a School District RE-1 spokesperson would not comment specifically on Yelton’s actions, he did confirm that the boy’s actions fit the school policy description of “sexual harassment.”