Even though things started moving forwards when it comes to acceptance of children with autism and their place in the society, there is still a lot that we need to learn about their needs and interests and how they perceive the world around them.
A 5-year-old boy named Nathan who has autism found himself in trouble only because he showed affection towards his classmates.
Despite his condition, Nathan has grown into a loving and caring boy. His guardian, Summery Putnam, has dedicated her life to teaching him the right values he should live by. Among the rest, she taught him to show appreciation whenever someone does something nice for him.
The thing is that Nathan does it by offering hugs and kisses. You may think that it’s very sweet of him to do that, but sadly, the school he attends, East Ridge Elementary, thinks differently.
Feeling the need to show them his love, Nathan would hug his classmates. But, instead of saying thank you or something, they made fun of him and complained that he was making them feel uncomfortable.
He couldn’t really understand why his friends laughed at him when he would offer his affection, so he wouldn’t stop hugging them even after the teacher and the rest of the staff told him not to do it any longer.
What the school did next was outrageous. Instead of reaching Summer regarding the ‘problem’ her son was causing, they filed a criminal report against Nathan with the State of Tennessee, labeling him a sexual predator.
When Summer heard of that, she was beyond angry. But no one cared to listen when she was telling them how Nathan had autism and was doing things differently,
Summer did her best to explain to her son how hugging his classmates was not allowed, although he couldn’t understand what was wrong in doing so.
Nathan’s grandma, Debi Amick, was shocked as well, so she decided to share her grandson’s story on Facebook, wondering how on Earth could a 5-year-old autistic boy be accused of sexual harassment.
Among the rest, she said, “He shouldn’t be treated like this. The kid doesn’t even understand what sex is.”
Only after his caring mom and grandma spoke up for little Nathan, the injustice was corrected.
The school admitted they had gone too far but justified their action of filing the report against Nathan by saying it was based on the school’s policy of reporting such cases to the Department of Child Services.
Thankfully, Nathan’s record that said he was a sexual predator was cleaned and he was enrolled into a special education class.
Sweet Nathan had to go through an ordeal only because he wanted to get along with his friends.
We honestly hope he would be able to forget this ‘incident’ and will show amazing performance at school.
We are glad he was given the chance to start over and be around new friends who understand him way better than those who hated his innocent hugs and kisses.