Despite valiant attempts at progress, the trajectory of society seems to at some point have taken a turn toward the insane. This story offers no pushback to that idea.
Nathan Putnam’s family claims he’s been “accused of sexual harassment” and “labeled a sexual predator.” Subsequently, he’s been punished.
That seems a bit harsh, since he only kissed someone on the cheek, and hugged someone else.
It also seems harsh because he has autism.
And it especially seems harsh, given that he’s 5 years old.
As reported by Chattanooga’s CBS 12, Debi Amick — Nathan’s grandmother — posted the following to Facebook:
“What do you do when a 5-year-old 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.”
She didn’t even defend him due to his age, but rather, with the notion that he’s different for his age:
“This child is austic [sic], 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.”
I imagine maybe everyone could relax a little bit even if he wasn’t autistic — he’s five.
His mother, Summery, said she was “sick to her stomach” from the call she received. The East Ridge Elementary teacher told her, “You need to have a talk with Nathan about boundaries.”
That seems a reasonable request.
As per Summery, Nathan wasn’t trying to do anything wrong:
“If you don’t understand how autism works, you’ll think he’s acting out or being difficult. But, that’s not the situation.”
Now here’s where we take a little bit of that “crazy” turn.
Tim Hensley — spokesman for Hamilton County Depart of Education — provided a statement, explaining that “school personnel are required to [sic] concerns regarding children to the Department of Child Services (DCS).” After that, it’s “up to DCS to determine if those reports are acted on by DCS and what form those actions may take.”
Nathan’s been switched to a different classroom and placed in special ed.
Because he cheek-kissed one child and hugged another.
As reported by The Daily Wire, there are similar stories floatin’ around:
Nathan is hardly the first autistic child to be punished for his condition, but he currently appears to be the youngest. In 2015, there was the story of Brian Ferguson, then a 20-year-old student at Navarro College in Texas. Ferguson, like Nathan, has autism, and would hug his friends and kiss them on the top of their head since, at 6’5”, he towered over them. One day Ferguson saw a woman who looked like his friend, so he went up to her and hugged her and kissed her on top of her head. The woman, however, was not Ferguson’s friend. Ferguson was expelled for “sexual assault” because of the kiss on the woman’s head. After a national backlash ensued, Ferguson was re-admitted to the school and even met with the woman whom he allegedly assaulted. She wasn’t the one who reported him, and never wanted him punished for what she called a “peck,” but school administrators witnessed the interaction and stepped in.
To be sure, no one wants an undesired hug or kiss. And no one should have to endure one. But maybe when the culprit’s under the age of 6, someone can just try to teach him not to do it.
Do you agree?
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