Education

Video: Hunter Yelton, six, deserved suspension for kissing my daughter, mom says

Jade Masters-Ownbey, mom of the little Canon City girl who six-year-old Hunter Yelton was suspended for kissing a few days back, initially said she wouldn't talk with the media. She thought the international publicity given to the story as a result of Hunter's behavior being tagged sexual harassment was way over the top. But after speaking out on her Facebook page, she decided to tell a newspaper and a TV station -- but not the one that broke the story in the first place -- that she feels the school district did the right thing. Details, photos and video below. As we reported, Hunter had previously gotten into trouble at Lincoln School of Science & Technology for behavior issues, including kissing the girl on the cheek. Then, in a music class, he kissed the girl's hand, and the other kids alerted the teacher. Before long, Jennifer Saunders, Hunter's mom, was in the principal's office, where the term "sexual harassment" set her off.

"This is taking it to an extreme that doesn't need to be met with a six year old. Now my son is asking questions.... 'What is sex, mommy?' That should not ever be said, sex. Not in a sentence with a six year old," she told KRDO-TV, which broke the story.

Saunders didn't seem to have a big problem with Hunter's suspension and said she was working with him about his actions. But to have him labeled a sexual harasser in paperwork that would follow him through his scholastic career at the RE-1 school district struck her as excessive and objectionable.

Before long, the global media seized on the story; as recently as yesterday, it was a topic of conversation on Fox News. No doubt the attention helped convince the district to replace the sexual harassment line with a reference to general misconduct.

In the meantime, Ownbey, who just happens to be a math teacher in RE-1, posted the following on her Facebook page:
Hey Canon City... the story about the boy being suspended from school for kissing a girl on the cheek ... there r two sides to every story and the news only shared a fragment of the one side. I am a teacher. A mom, an advocate for children.... but that boy deserved to be suspended for the continual harassment of my daughter. Canon City Schools did right!
Continue for more about Jade Masters-Ownbey's reaction to the Hunter Yelton story, including more photos and two videos.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts

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