Boy ‘registered as sex offender’ for hugging classmate
Of all the things Summery expected to hear from the teacher about in regards to five-year-old Nathan, this most certainly was not of them - not even by a long shot.
In fact, you couldn't make this up - it's just so inconceivable. Summery, his guardian, received a phone call from the school at the start of September that made her "sick to my stomach".
"First of all, I didn't understand... He's a five-year-old, he's a child," she told ABC7.
"The teacher called me. She said, 'You need to have a talk with Nathan about boundaries.'"
Summery said the teacher, from East Ridge Elementary in Tennessee, also accused her son of "sexual activities".
"If you don't understand how autism works, you'd think he's acting out or being defiant, but that's not the situation," she said.
"I talked to him. I said, 'You can't hug children.' "He said: 'Why?' "I said, 'Because, Nathan, it's not allowed'.
"To bring something like this against a child, a special needs child that really doesn't understand what he's done wrong…"
Summery claims she was told Nathan had been "labelled a sex predator" and will have it on his record forever.
Nathan's grandmother Debi Amick pleaded for help on Facebook.
"What do you do when a 5 year child is being labelled a sexual predator and accused of sexual harassment by the school system?" she wrote.
"It was disclosed that it will go on his record for the rest of his life that he is a sex offender.
"This child is autistic, he comprehends and functions very different than your typical five year old.
"Who do you turn to for help when the school will not even listen to the child's doctor when he explains the child's difficulties in his comprehension of simple things such as boundaries?
"If anyone can offer advice or help please do."
She said the school claimed to have had to have spoken with Nathan on several previous occasions about respecting boundaries.
Tim Hensley, from the Hamilton County Department of Education, said: "School personnel are required to [raise] concerns regarding children to the Department of Child Services.
"It's up to DCS to determine if those reports are acted on by DCS and what form those actions may take."
Summery confirmed that Nathan had now been moved to a different class with a different teacher, and that he is also receiving special educational services.