Family Questions Punishment of Autistic Hamilton County Kindergartener

A Tennessee family says their autistic son is being unfairly punished after kissing another classmate on the cheek, the Washington Post reports. The 5-year-old Hamilton County kindergartener was diagnosed with autism several years ago and suffers from phonological disorder, which his mother says prevents him from understanding boundaries and personal space. After meeting with school officials regarding the child’s IEP, the mother was told that the child often hugged children and looked under a teacher’s dress in addition to the kissing incident.  The mother also alleges in a Newsweek article that school officials said the behavior amounted to "sexual activity” and that his permanent record would label him a sex offender. Hamilton County Schools said the district is bound by privacy laws that do not allow it to publicly discuss what happened in the classroom, but it denies allegations of wrongdoing and disagrees with how the family has framed the issue.

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