Student Suspended Hugging – A middle school student was suspended for hugging.
A Florida mother hopes to change policies at a Brevard County public school after her son was discharged for a hug. When Nick Martinez, 14, received his suspension for public display of affection at Southwest Middle School in Palm Bay, his mom wanted to know why.
“I wanted to know if he had touched her inappropriately? Did she report it? Did she say anything about it? It was a mutual hug,” said Nancy Crescente, the boy’s mother.
Nick said he quickly hugged the girl, whom he called his best friend, between classes. The principal saw it and hauled them off to the dean for an in-school suspension. The principal even told WKMG Local 6 that the hug was innocent. Crescente said she was livid after they were punished.
“First of all, we are a Hispanic cultural family and hugging is part of who we are,” she said.
The school has a strict policy and it is the only school in the district where it will get students suspended. Under the policy, there is no difference between an unwanted hug, like sexual harassment, and a hug between friends.
The school principal said everyone should know the policy because it is written in the student handbook and is online. He said a committee of parents have signed off on this policy for years. Crescente said she was aware of a policy, but said it’s too broad and needs to be more specific. She now fears her son will be labeled as a troublemaker because he was suspended.
“There’s nothing wrong with hugging,” said Crescente. “If there’s nothing wrong with it in the legal system, why would there be something wrong with it in the school system?”
Not only does Crescente want the policy changed, but she also plans on talking to the school board and is willing to hire an attorney to make her point. The principal said there is no plan to change the policy.