A Florida school counselor is pressing charges against a 10-year-old boy she claims groped her under the guise of a hug, reports said Wednesday.
According to a police report and a copy of his suspension letter obtained by NBC News, the fourth-grader was suspended from Holly Hill School for 10 days and faces a misdemeanor battery charge.
The health counselor claims she was visiting the boy’s classroom on Oct. 24 to speak with his teacher when the child approached her for an embrace.
She claims she “turned sideways to give a side hug” when the boy put one arm around her shoulder and “cupped her left breast in a disrespectful way” with the other, according to the letter provided to the outlet by the child’s attorney.
The counselor had to “forcibly remove his hand,” according to USA Today.
The counselor’s identity is being withheld because she invoked Marsy’s Law, a Florida statute that allows alleged crime victims to remain anonymous.
After the incident, police were called to the school, and the boy was reprimanded by school officials. He was suspended for ten days and allowed to return on Tuesday.
His family claims the allegations are false, and school officials suspended him without properly investigating the allegations.
According to the police report and suspension letter, the boy’s teacher was in the room during the alleged incident but did not witness the interaction.
“There’s no witnesses, [just] her word against his,” Lakesha Hollins, the boy’s grandmother and legal guardian, told USA Today. “He’s only 10.”
Hollins theorizes the counselor may have turned to look at another student during the embrace, causing the awkward touch.
“My grandson said with the hug, she did grab his hand and hold his hand up, and he didn’t really know why she did it,” she told USA Today. “He said she let his hand go and then he walked back to his seat and then he began to talk to other students.
“We’re talking about a 10-year-old being kicked out of school for what possibly could have been an accident.”