A 10-Year-Old Boy Hugged A School Counselor. Now He Faces A Potential Battery Charge.

A 10-Year-Old Boy Hugged A School Counselor. Now He Faces A Potential Battery Charge.

A Florida fourth grader was suspended from elementary school and faces a potential misdemeanor charge of battery after he hugged a school counselor late last month.

The counselor, who works at Holly Hill School in Volusia County, Florida, said she was visiting a classroom on October 24 when a 10 year old asked for a hug, NBC News reported. The counselor, who invoked a Florida rule allowing her to remain unnamed, claimed in a police report and the school’s suspension letter that she “turned sideways to give a side hug” to the student, who put one arm around her shoulder but “reached and grabbed her left breast” with his other hand. In the report, the counselor acknowledges that she removed the student’s hand and walked away.

The boy’s family denies he inappropriately touched the counselor.

Yet police were called to the school on reports of an alleged battery, which the young student now faces, though he hasn’t been charged yet.

Attorneys for the boy’s family say he never touched the counselor’s breast and that the school didn’t properly investigate the incident, suspending him for 10 days even though he insisted he didn’t touch her inappropriately.

“My grandson has been accused of something and then punished before the facts,” the boy’s grandfather said, according to NBC. “We will not stand for it.”

The school counselor also claimed in the police report that the boy’s teacher – who didn’t witness the alleged incident – tried to discuss it with the 10 year old but that he “began to yell” and had to be removed from the classroom. The boy’s family disputes her version of events. An attorney for the boy, Rawsi Williams, told NBC that the counselor initiated the hug.

This week, the boy’s family demanded the school clear the boy’s record and fire the school counselor they say falsely accused him.

“We will not stand by this and allow him to be accused of something that he did not do,” Ed Hollins, the boy’s grandfather, said during a virtual press conference Monday morning, according to The Daytona Beach News-Journal. “I would not stand for my grandchild or any child to be treated this way by a professional. This is a new way of lynching.”

The family and their attorney has been joined by West Volusia NAACP President Sean King in saying the boy is the latest in a line of non-white students receiving disproportionate and more severe punishment within the Volusia County school system.

“Over the last two years of being president, this is a weekly call that I’m getting with situations of this nature, especially with the Volusia County school system, where our Black and brown kids are put on the wrong end of every situation, and no matter how you confront the issue, it continues to happen,” King said, according to the News-Journal.

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