A 5-year-old boy with autism from Tennessee was accused of sexual harassment after he reportedly kissed a fellow child on the cheek and hugged another classmate.
East Ride Elementary School filed a report to the Department of Child Protection Services after the accusations were made against the child, Nathan. The boy’s legal guardian, Summery Putnam, believes there could be long-term consequences for him.
“I was sick to my stomach,” said Putnam, according to the New York Post. “The teacher called me and she said, ‘You need to have a talk with Nathan about boundaries.'” (RELATED: Family Charged For Abandoning Adopted Ukrainian Child Who Turned Out To Be Crazed Adult Dwarf)
“If you don’t understand how autism works, you’ll think he’s acting out or being difficult,” she said. “He doesn’t know what he’s doing wrong.”
According to WTVC, Nathan had to enroll into “special-education services” and switch teachers.
A school official familiar with the matter said, “School personnel are required to [present] 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.”
The 5-year-old’s grandmother, Debi Amick, went on a private Facebook group to defend her grandchild, saying, “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. This child is autistic. He comprehends and functions very different than your typical 5-year-old.”