Leo Bennett-Cauchon, who has been teaching special education for 16 years, was recently put on paid leave by school officials in Manteca, California, after he hugged an autistic 8-year-old student. 


According to USA today, Bennett-Cauchon has been protesting his dismissal, arguing that he was simply granting the request of a child in need of comfort. 
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"I've been trained, if a student asks for a hug, you give a hug. I admit completely that I hugged him and let him sit on my lap when he said 'sit.' I picked him up when he said 'up.' This is a child that needs physical contact," he said. 

The student's mother says that she is in full support Bennett-Cauchon's behavior, but a police investigation into the incident is expected to last for several weeks. 

Bennett-Cauchon has been protesting outside the school district office and asking police to wrap up their investigation promptly so that he can return to his students. 

He carried a sign that read: "Let me teach! Bring back joy."