Wow, this school seems to have completely blown this incident out of proportion. A 5-year-old boy has been accused of being a ‘sexual predator’ for giving his classmate an innocent hug.

Teachers say that Nathan, who is in Kindergarten, overstepped his boundaries. But his family says that their son has autism, which can make it difficult for him to understand social cues and that the whole incident is a big misunderstanding.

Nathan’s guardian, Summery Putnam, said she received a phone call from her son’s teacher at East Ridge Elementary in Chattanooga, Tenessee, to say that she had to have a talk to Nathan about boundaries.

Overstepping ‘Boundaries’

Putnam said the teacher accused her son of sexual activities after she was told he hugged a child and kissed another child on the cheek, as reported in ABC7WJLA

“I was sick to my stomach,” Putnam said “If you don’t understand how autism works, you’ll think he’s acting out or being difficult. But, that’s not the situation,” she continued.

The principal says the school staff has talked with him many times and that the school has filed a report with the state.

What Can I Do?

Debi Amick, Nathan’s grandmother, posted in a private Facebook post:

“What do you do when a 5 year child is being labeled a sexual predator and accused of sexual harassment by the school system? It was disclosed that it will go in his record for the rest of his life that he is a sex offender. This child is autistic, he comprehends and functions very different than your typical 5 year. What do you do? Who do you turn to for help when the school will not even listen to the child’s doctor when he explains the child’s difficulties in his comprehension of simple things such as boundaries. If anyone can offer advice or help please do. Please feel free to comment or pm me”

“He shouldn’t be treated like this. The kid doesn’t even understand what sex is,” Amick continued.

Tim Hensley, a spokesperson for the Hamilton County Department of Education, said in a statement:

“School personnel are required to report concerns regarding children to the Department of Child Services (DCS). It’s up to DCS to determine if those reports are acted on by DCS and what form those actions may take. ”

Putnam says her son has now switched classrooms and teachers and is enrolled in special education services.

Do you think the school is overreacting? Tell us in the comments below.

More on Mouths of Mums


  • Totally overreacting, how stupid!!


  • Seriously? This is insane! The teachers need to learn more about autism so that they know how to support such kids instead of being harsh on them!


  • I’m not sure a hug or kiss = sexual predator. And surely the educators understand his autism.


  • He’s 5 not 15, poor little lad and his parents having to deal with a school like that. What is the world coming to?


  • Ridiculous. As if this family doesn’t have enough to deal with navigating the education system and supporting their son.


  • Yeah they are over reacting for sure. They need to stop being so bloody sensitive to everything, he is a 5 year old child for crying out loud. The guardian did the right thing by removing him from that classroom and enrolling him in special needs classes.


  • A hug and a kiss on the cheek is innocent the child just needs to be told not to if the other child doesn’t like it, lots of children don’t understand social cues and it’s our responsibility as adults to teach them not vilify them.


  • Whether he has autism or not, a 5 year old just wants to hug people when they are happy. I think the school has over reacted big time and to put it on his record that he is a sex offender is way over the top. I hope he gets all the love that he deserves.


  • Its so sad because still so many people do not understand autism and that there are so many differences between autistic children.


  • it Is hard to understand how members of staff in this day and age do not understand autism,


  • Wow!!! How ridiculous.
    Feel sorry for the boy and his careers.


  • This is honestly disgusting! How can a 5 year old be a sexual predator. It’s a hug for god sake! This world is seriously messed up when this is what’s happening


  • What?!? I am encouraging hugs between children


  • Awwww this is soooo sad!!! Why are they not educating themselves about Autism. If you are looking after or teaching Autistic children learn how you can help them; teach them how they would understand.


  • Overreacting big time. That is ludicrous! Shame on them! What, are we instilling hate instead of love? Disgusting!


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