12 On Your Side: School tells student to 'beat it' for dancing like MJ

By: Elizabeth Owens Email
By: Elizabeth Owens Email

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012

SCREVEN COUNTY, Ga. -- Pop star Michael Jackson has millions of fans, including a local second grader who says dancing like "MJ" got him suspended from school.

Ever since Jobe Tolle can remember he's had only one idol, The King of Pop!

"He sings and all the different suits he tries on," said Jobe about his hero.

There isn't a day that goes by that the 8-year-old isn't dancing like his Jackson.

"Yeah Michael Jackson is a really big deal to him," said Tammy Tolle about her son.

Tolle thought Jobe's MJ obsession was nothing but fun games until her son's assistant principal called her.

"I thought he said he had hit someone," she said.

Tolle thought he said Jobe was punching someone.

"He said no. He was hunching in the hallway," she said.

Jobe's mother didn't know what hunching was. It's a slang term meaning "simulating sex." And that's exactly what school administrators say the second grader did while waiting in line at school.

"I'm upset, saddened, really angry," Tolle said.

Tolle says her son was not hunching but rather dancing like Michael Jackson.

School officials suspended Jobe and cited him for "lewd behavior to include sexting and porn."

"Lewd behavior to include sexting and porn? On the way home I had to explain to my son what porn was." Tolle said.

School officials suspended Jobe for a day.

Officials did not want to go on camera with News 12 On Your Side, but the superintendent said he has confidence in his administrators who investigated the incident. He also said the punishment was appropriate for Jobe's behavior.

The superintendent went on further to tell News 12 he would not discipline a student for just dancing in line.

"He is not the perfect kid, but he doesn't do sexual stuff," Tolle said. "This is not a punishment that fits the crime at all."

Tolle says her son should have been disciplined for clowning around but not for "lewd behavior."

The school superintendent said "improper behavior" would have been an more accurate category for Jobe's actions. However, the state doesn't have specific code for it.

School officials say any time a student is suspended, they must categorize the offense under a specific state code. The closest code which describes the Jobe's actions, they say, is lewd behavior.

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