12-Year-Old Suspended From Worcester Middle School for Hugging Gym Teacher - NBC Bay Area
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12-Year-Old Suspended From Worcester Middle School for Hugging Gym Teacher

"I don't expect the teacher to have to be OK with being touched or being hugged, but I do expect as an educator that she educate what the boundaries are in her classroom"

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    Student Suspended for Hugging Teacher

    A woman in Worcester is asking for change after her foster son was suspended from school for hugging one of his teachers.

    (Published Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019)

    A 12-year-old student in Worcester, Massachusetts, has been suspended for hugging a gym teacher.

    The foster mother of the Forest Grove Middle School student is asking for change after the boy was suspended for 10 days and given a record of physical assault of a teacher.

    "I was told he had put his hands on a teacher," said Julie Orozco. "I was shocked and asked for details on what happened, and then I was told that he hugged his gym teacher."

    "At the end of the day, I just hugged her, nothing really happened," the seventh-grader said.

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    NBC10 Boston is not identifying the 12-year-old boy, but Orozco says he fully admits he was fooling around with friends in gym class when the teacher told him to sit out.

    "And then I went over just like, and I gave her a hug and said, 'Please, I don't want to sit out' because I like the game," he said.

    After sitting out for five minutes, the teacher allowed him to play.

    Orozco says it wasn't until the next period that he was called to the principal's office.

    "I don't expect the teacher to have to be OK with being touched or being hugged, but I do expect as an educator that she educate what the boundaries are in her classroom," Orozco said.

    She says after several phone calls, emails and an eventual hearing, she got his school record reduced to "disruption of school" and his suspension reduced to four days. But she says there's nothing in the school handbook about hugs and she doesn't want this incident to be held against him in the future.

    "If you can admit to me that you didn't have a mechanism or a process, or any way of informing students what your expectations were, but then in the same breath you say to me, 'He's 12, he should know hugs are not OK,' it's confounding," Orozco said.

    Reached by phone, the school district's safety director said the district has no comment on the matter.

    Orozco has been invited by the school committee to speak at their meeting Thursday about what her son is going through.