A Massachusetts middle-schooler has been suspended and cited for physical assault after he gave his gym teacher an unsolicited hug during class.
The seventh grader at Forest Grove Middle School was playing with friends during gym class last month when the teacher asked 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 told the Worcester NBC affiliate.
Later that day, the child was called to the office and was suspended for 10 days.
"I was told he had put his hands on a teacher," Julie Orozco, the boy’s mother, told Boston's NBC10. "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.
"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.
Orozco said she made a number of phone calls and sent a lot of emails to get the incident reduced from "physical assault" to a “disruption of school,” and to have his suspension reduced to four days.
"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.