A Colorado school district says they’ve decided to let a 6-year-old boy return to class after originally suspending him for kissing another first-grade student on the hand.
The boy, Hunter Yelton, made national headlines earlier this week when it was learned that the Canon City school system classified the kiss as a form of “sexual harassment” that would be listed as an infraction on his disciplinary record.
"This is taking it to an extreme that doesn't need to be met with a 6-year-old," the boy’s mother, Jennifer Saunders, told KRDO. "Now my son's asking questions, 'What is sex, mommy?'"
Late Wednesday, though, the school acknowledged having a change of heart on how to proceed with the case. KRDO News reported that evening that Canon School Superintendent Robin Gooldy met with parents of Yelton and agreed to reclassify the offense from “sexual harassment” to “misconduct.”
Parents of the first-grade girl on the receiving end of the kiss say the school was right to initially take action, though, which included a temporary suspension for Yelton that has since been lifted.
According to the girl’s mother, Jade Masters-Ownbey, the boy attempted to kiss her daughter "over and over" without her permission, “sneaking up on her” to do it.
"I've had to coach her about what to do when you don't want someone touching you, but they won't stop," she told the Canon City Daily Record.
"It was during class yeah," the boy explained to KRDO went the story first began to go viral. "We were doing reading group and I leaned over and kissed her on the hand. That's what happened."
Originally, the school suggested they would stand by their decision to temporarily ban Yelton from class, and KRDO reported "They're hoping the suspension changes Hunter's behavior."
Now amid a backlash brought on by what the local television station calls a “tidal wave of negative publicity,” the school is bowed to public pressure and agreed to reassess their allegations against the child.
"Our main interest in this is having the behavior stop because the story is not just about the student that was disciplined, it is also about the student receiving the unwanted advances," Superintendent Gooldy told KRDO.