DULUTH, Ga. (CBS Atlanta) – A former Duluth High School student who was suspended for a year for hugging a teacher has finally graduated high school.

Sam McNair and his mother, April, thought the year suspension was too severe of a punishment when a school hearing officer found that he violated the Gwinnett County Public Schools’ rules on sexual harassment.

Now, McNair has graduated and plans to attend college in Virginia this fall. He explained that he doesn’t hold any grudges against the high school and the school district officials.

“I actually thank them for doing that,” McNair told WGLC. “It put me on the right track.”

McNair, who was a former football and lacrosse player at the high school, shared that he had expected to attend college on an athletic scholarship, but that the suspension disrupted those plans.

The Gwinnett County Board of Education permitted him to finish high school in an online program, but wouldn’t allow him to graduate with his class after he appealed the school’s decision back in January.

“It’s all right though,” McNair told WGLC. “I know God has bigger plans for me.”

He plans to attend Liberty University and earn a degree in industrial engineering. He explained that the Christian university will offer him the support he needs to focus on his studies.

“Everything happened for a reason. So this probably put me on a path for success later on,” McNair told WGLC.


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