COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -A Canon City school six-year-old boy has been accused of sexual harassment and the school suspended him for kissing a girl on the cheek and hand.
A child psychologist said the tough treatment could have negative consequences. She said the kissing is normal behavior for children of that age.
Lincoln School of Science and Technology is home to young growing minds from Kindergarten to 5th grade. Six-year-old Hunter Yelton is one of them suspended two days for kissing a girl once on the hand and another time on the cheek.
Sandy Wurtele, a child clinical psychologist at UCCS, specializes in child sexual development and the prevention of childhood sexual abuse. She said she wasn’t surprised when we told her about Hunter kissing a classmate.
“For most six-year-old boys, absolutely. That would be a normal behavior,” said Wurtele.
However, she was surprised to hear the school suspended him.
“That really gives mixed messages, negative messages to the kids,” she said. “This part of development is just as important if not more than their academic subjects.”
Wurtele believes the term “sexual harassment” could have serious consequences on a child.
“I don’t think a six-year-old would understand what harassment is,” said Wurtele. “That has some longer term implications.”
She said if anything, this is an opportunity to talk.
“For so long, we’re like ‘Oh no! Don’t kiss! Don’t talk about it! Don’t ask questions!’” she said.
Wurtele said it’s also a chance to have a discussion with hunter, the girl involved, their classmates and all parents.
“Move away from that ‘we don’t do this’ to in what situations is it acceptable?” said Wurtele.
It points to the fact that some behavior may be acceptable one place, but isn’t always acceptable at another.
“You may have different rules of showing affection than you do maybe at home,” said Wurtele.
Wurtele assured Newschannel 13 that children at that age are simply curious about the differences between boys and girls.
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