Male Substitute Teacher Is Fired After A Student Hugs Him

He did nothing wrong, but he was still fired.

Male Substitute Teacher Fired upset AJR_photo | Shutterstock

For many kids, it’s natural to give their teacher a hug. They’re someone you see nearly every day, and they play a big role in their growth and care. However, there are some situations where it just isn’t appropriate or looked down on.

One teacher found himself in one of those situations after a student hugged him, which led to his job termination.

A substitute teacher was fired because a student hugged him.

A substitute teacher posted on Reddit to ask for advice after he lost his job because of something that was completely out of his control.


“I just got let go from a long-term sub job because a random student hugged me the other day,” he said. “I did the best I could to turn it into a side hug like any 21st-century male teacher would do with fifth and sixth graders.”

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While nothing inappropriate happened, that’s not the way others saw it. “Somebody saw it and said I solicited and encouraged students to hug me,” he explained.

This teacher argued that that was not the case at all. “I am a male teacher,” he stated. “This isn’t my first career, but I know better than to solicit, encourage, or ask for hugs. I don’t do it with kids, grown-ups, or space aliens.”

The teacher explained that he had plenty of experience in education and understood that it was important for him to avoid hugging students.

“I earned an ed degree 35 years ago, and even then, that was one of the first things they teach you, especially if you teach older than elementary students,” he said. “My wife teaches first and second graders and gets random hugs all day long. I get that. They do it.”


Despite his unfortunate circumstances, the teacher was able to hold on to his sense of humor.

“So, if I ever get another job in ed again, do I just deploy my Iron Man weapons from my palms and blast them across the room or what?” he asked.

@mr.trayvon Replying to @isbe15.08 is it OK for teachers to give students hugs? Depending on who the teacher is, it is OK for the most part for teachers to give students hugs. In my case as a male teacher, I try not to give hugs for my own safety. ##teacherhugsstudent##hugs##teachertok##teachertiktok##teacherstudent##teachersoftiktok ♬ original sound - Mr. Trayvon | EduInfluencer

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Opinions are varied on whether male teachers should show affection to students.

Education Week reported on coverage from the Sacramento Bee concerning whether it was appropriate for male teachers to show students physical affection. Teachers who were interviewed had differing opinions.

“According to kindergarten teacher Paul Ferreter, his teachers’ union instructs educators to refrain from touching students, which means that even a pat on the shoulder is out,” Education Week stated. “But Ferreter says that he still gives his students what he calls a ‘sideways hug.’ ‘I’m taking that risk because I think it’s important,’ said Ferreter.”

On the other hand, another teacher avoids physical contact at all costs, just to be safe.


“Meanwhile, fifth-grade teacher Carlos Rico said that reading headlines about sexual allegations against male educators makes teachers ‘hypersensitive’ about physical interactions with students,” said Education Week. “‘When I was growing up, I’d hug teachers,’ he told the paper. But, he added, ‘The rule of thumb now is not to even touch students.’”

Many teachers, male and female, are concerned about accusations of inappropriate behavior, so they avoid any physical contact with students. However, this may be robbing students of an important source of affection.

Other Reddit users were supportive of this teacher and his plight.

The man’s fellow Redditors were understanding of what he was going through.

“I’m a male third-grade teacher,” one said. “I stick to fist bumps or high fives. However, I’ve had students randomly hug me at times (usually the last day), but these are initiated by the kids. It’s never been an issue …”

@desmondfambrini Reply to @caroline_marsh0hugs are great BUT consent=REQUIRED 😇💖 #hug #hugs #student #teachet ♬ original sound - Desmond Fambrini

This fellow teacher ended his comment with some words of encouragement. “There are plenty of great schools out there who would love to have you,” he said.

Although this teacher had a bad experience, there is certainly still a place for him in education.

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Mary-Faith Martinez is a writer for YourTango who covers entertainment, news, and human interest topics.