Sam McNair received a one-year suspension from Duluth High after a school hearing officer last week found he violated the Gwinnett County Public Schools' rules on sexual harassment.
McNair hugged a teacher -- something he said he does regularly, without being disciplined.
"Something so innocent can be perceived as something totally opposite," the 17-year-old senior told CBS Atlanta.
In surveillance video of the hug, McNair places "his arms around the back and front of the teacher and (tucks) his head behind her neck," according to the station. In a discipline report, the teacher said McNair allegedly touched her cheek and neck with his cheeks and lips. Further, the teacher said she had warned McNair about such contact.
McNair denies the harassment and denies having been previously warned about his hugging. His mother said the school acted too quickly, without properly educating her son that his behavior crossed a line.
According to the station, McNair does have a discipline record but has never been disciplined for sexual harassment. "Hearing officers consider witness testimony, a review of the known facts, and a student's past disciplinary history...when determining consequences," a Gwinnett County Public Schools spokesperson said in a statement.