Gwinnett County student suspended for hugging teacher will have - CBS46 News

Gwinnett County student suspended for hugging teacher will have chance to graduate

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Sam McNair and his family went to the Gwinnett County School Board meeting hoping to find out whether he would be allowed to finish school and graduate with his Duluth High School class, but by the end of that two hour meeting he and his family were left speechless as the school board got up and walked out of the room without announcing its decision.

"We were supposed to know either before today or today and we still don't know what is going on with his situation," said April McNair, shortly after the meeting ended.

April McNair and her son Sam McNair were frustrated at the end of Thursday night's school board meeting. They said they couldn't believe the board did not tell them whether Sam McNair would be allowed to finish the school year and graduate with his class.

"I've been waiting this long for this, nothing really happened like I expected," said Sam McNair.

Sam McNair was suspended for a year after school officials said the senior violated the district's sexual harassment policy by hugging a teacher. A school surveillance camera captured the hug. Sam McNair said the hug was innocent and his mother filed an appeal. The school board discussed that appeal and decided on a course of action in a meeting before Wednesday night's public meeting, but that decision was not relayed to the McNairs.

"They could have at least come and said something to us. They knew we were here. Say something to us, to our attorney, something," April McNair said.

"Most of the time mail is fine when there is no personal interaction, but since we are here, I believe it would have been most appropriate to tell us in person," said King Kimani, the McNair's attorney.
The Chairman of the Gwinnett County School Board declined to speak to CBS Atlanta on camera, but off camera he said the decision would be released within the next 24 hours. When CBS Atlanta reporter Bernard Watson asked why someone couldn't tell the family right then, a spokesperson with the school district got someone on the phone and April McNair was given the good news.

"It is an opportunity for him to finish and graduate. I am hoping that the high school diploma will say Duluth High School because he worked four hard years for it, so it is a step in the right direction for him to be on the track to graduate. I don't think it is a fair punishment, but they gave him an opportunity that they didn't give him the first time, so it is a step forward," said April McNair.

April McNair said she wants to see the agreement in writing before deciding whether to take legal action.

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