A middle school principal in Connecticut recently outlawed hugs on campus. That’s right. Hugs. High-fives, too. And if students violate the ban they may face expulsion. Heavy duty, huh? The principal instituted this hands-off approach after a violent incident in the school left a student hospitalized. The principal told parents that students’ safety and learning has been seriously impacted by physical contact, so it’s now off limits.This is not the first school in the country to implement such rules, and sociologist Dr. Julie Albright is concerned about the trend. She points out, “Since the 1980’s, teachers have been warned not to touch or hug students as a result of fears surrounding accusations of sexual harassment. Now, this ban has broadened to encompass students themselves. Schools across the country – particularly middle schools – have one by one put bans on hugging, and not just romantic hugging, but hugging between friends.” She cited a case where a junior high girl was expelled from school for hugging her friend goodbye. (Associated Press, 2007). The District Superintendent cited the punishment as fair, but others disagreed.
Albright questions the logic, asking what it is we’re so afraid of. For important insights from Dr. Albright that impact our kids, CLICK HERE.
What do you think? Is hugging a sign of a well rounded student? Are schools in the business of educating and should anything that interferes with learning be banned? We want to hear from you.
April 16, 2010