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


  • This is PC gone crazy. Kids should be taught what is and isn’t acceptable behavior. This poor boy will be so confused after this innocent show of friendship


  • If it was just a simple hug and no suggestion by his movements and speech they are making a bit deal. Some children with disabilities have no concept of how other people feel about such actions.
    Imagine how a 5 year old must feel. Some are a long way behind in developmental skills. His parents have probably made the right decision for his benefit for him to have teachers who understand his abilities and can guide him accordingly. Children with Autism are often very bright academically and bet bored at school unless they are given work that challenges them. They need to learn at their level which on some cases a pupil may be assessed and actually skip a year at school. Some are perfectionists in some things. Some become wonderful IT Specialists and have to train others to do the basics


  • And this poor child thought the world was a friendly place to be and showing you are happy and like someone so innocently was the right thing to do.
    This school should be pleased that this young man’s autism is of the friendly type – plenty are very aggressive and very hard to control.
    Do hope higher levels of the Education system sees this for what it genuinely is and doesn’t label this poor kid a sexual predator for the balance of his life.


  • This is ridiculous. Isn’t a hug just a hug?


  • Oh definitely an over reaction. Sure, he needs a talk about boundaries – but that’s pretty normal for any 5 year old.


  • Defenetly they did…they should put “labels” especially the one can hurt


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