Madison Heights student suspended for touching teacher

12-year-old student says she accidentally touched her teacher

MADISON HEIGHTS, Mich. - Madison Heights middle school student Je'Terra Bowie's school work is all homework now.

Bowie has been suspended from Wilkinson Middle School for the past month for inappropriately touching her teacher.

Bowie said she accidentally touched her teacher while reaching back to stretch. According to her, the suspension was unwarranted.

"I didn't know she stopped behind me," she said. "She stopped, and I stretched back. I turned back and said, 'Sorry. I didn't mean to.'"

Bowie's family showed Local 4 a handwritten statement from the teacher who reported to the school's principal that the touching was no accident. The teacher claimed it was a one or two-finger poke in the deep left inner thigh.

Bowie said she is sure she touched the teacher's outer thigh.

The teacher immediately ordered Bowie out of the classroom. Other students wrote letters agreeing that the touching was an accident.

Bowie has been suspended for 180 days and won't be back to class until January.

"It just made me livid," said Bowie's mother, Jessica Hunter. "How can you suspend a 7th-grade student for 180 days? It's a 7th-grade student."

The teacher said the touch was nothing sexual but that it was meant to be disrespectful.

"I don't raise my kids to lie," Hunter said. "I raise them to tell the truth no matter what."

The interim superintendent for Madison Heights schools conducted a hearing and decided that the misconduct was serious. It was decided that Bowie had violated the Madison Public Schools code of conduct.

The family plans to go in front of the school board Wednesday to appeal the hearing and interim superintendent's decision.

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