4 year-old suspended from kindergarten in Texas, US

Monday, December 11, 2006

A 4-year old pre-kindergartener, attending La Vega Primary School in Waco, Texas, was given an in-school suspension November 10 after hugging a teacher's aide and supposedly rubbing his face in her chest.

The La Vega school district sent a letter to the student's father, Damarcus Blackwell, who was upset after learning of his son's "inappropriate physical behavior interpreted as sexual contact and/or sexual harassment". He has since filed complaint against the district.

"When I got that letter, my world flipped," Blackwell said in a story in Sunday's editions of the Waco Tribune-Herald.

Blackwell says that it is ridiculous that the aide would misinterpret a hug from a four-year-old. Blackwell wrote to administrators demanding that the incident and all paperwork related to the incident be expunged from his son's academic records on the basis that a four year old cannot understand the concept of sexual harassment, let alone commit sexual harassment. He also asked that the aide who reported his son's conduct apologize.

The record has since been changed to "inappropriate physical contact", though Blackwell's request to expunge all records concerning the incident was denied, as was his request for an apology from the aide involved in the incident.

District employees state that there are no guidelines about student/teacher contact in the handbook; however, it does state that "inappropriate physical contact" will result in a discipline referral.

According The school district would not comment on specific details, citing student privacy laws.