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December 3, 2007

Taking a stand against public displays of affection: Hugs can land you in detention

Who knew that a simple hug could get a kid in so much hot water? Check out this Time article about American schools that ban several forms of non-violent physical contact.

Kilmer Middle School in Vienna, Va., has one of the most stringent policies. The school bans high-fives!

Another school -- Fossil Hill Middle School in Fort Worth, Texas -- has banned students from hugging and holding hands. Percy Julian Middle School in Oak Park, Illinois, banned hugs earlier this year.

Is this excessive or necessary? Do you know of any Maryland schools that have similar policies (unwritten or on the books)?

Posted by John-John Williams IV at 12:00 PM | | Comments (9)
Categories: Around the Nation, Trends


Until two years ago I worked in the school system. I worked in all levels of public school. We had a rough time with middle-schoolers and high-schoolers pertaining to PDA's, but it appalls me that school systems are banning this. Many kids were told that PDA's were verboten, but would do it anyway just to defy adults. That is kids being kids. They have more respect for adults if we tell them why they shouldn't do it, rather than being authoritarian and banning it.

Purely ridiculous. By unjustly banning any touch, we are creating a whole society of people who won't know how to appropriately interact with each other as adults.

If a mother never hugs, cuddles and generally engages in touch with her baby, that baby will have severe mental issues as they grow up. Now I am absolutely not condoning some of the more egregious PDA, like making out in front of everyone that teens like to engage in, but to ban outright all forms of touch is just plain stupid and can cause some form of mental harm.

Sounds like the adults/administrators in some of these districts with strict anti-PDA rules need to take the stick out from their behind.

Can it be excessive AND necessary?

Common sense should rule the day, of course, but with more kids and fewer teachers, common sense is becoming a luxury. Trying to figure out the difference between an impending high-five and open-face slap to the head is just one more thing that overworked teachers don't have time for.

Nix it all and call it a day.

We all know what hugs lead to...

This is a fabulous example of Zero Tolerance being taken to its logically absurd conclusion. This becomes the death of common sense because it isn't given an opportunity to be exercised.

I'm with Artie on this one. I've worked with a wide range of disabled students, for whom a hug means anything from "welcome to school" to "good job" to "OK, this crisis is over now and we can get back to work". When I worked in a preschool for visually-impaired youngsters, the kids would invariably come in the room with lipstick marks on their faces from the aides giving them the Good Morning smooches as they got off the bus.

Children need to learn all forms of communication, and the sense of touch is incredibly important. Eliminate human contact and we're doomed to raising children who have zero empathy.

Think this is a bad idea? Then you haven't been in a public high school lately! They halls are R and X rated and the student aren't embarassed, in fact, they get angry when they are told to go to class.
Don't believe it, try walking the halls of your local high school before the first bell rings!

schools banning PDA is extremely unjust. I'm a high school student currently and although i think my fellow peers lovely face sucking sessions are repulsive, i think i should be able to hug my friends when i see them and not have to worry about a teacher riding my back. Students should be responsible for their own public displays and have the decency to get a room. Although adults aren't as exempt from the PDA rule as many of them would like to believe. I was walking through the mall and you would not believe the amount of adults (meaning 20 and up) licking each other's ears, pinching bums (ew!) and just being obnoxious about their love.

I agree the adults take PDA way to far. Im a 15 year old kid who lives in baltimore maryland. I only was holding hands with my girlfriend in the hallway, when outta nowhere you here "STOP ALL THAT FACE SUCKING AND TOUCHING ITS GROSS!" from another teacher when were were only holding hands. they dont even let us hug but then they will do it to other teachers and staff right infront of us.!

I find it crazy that giving a peer a simple hug. I see it all like this, if we are unable to give hugs then how do u help others with a problem. I have found that when someone is having problems they want to be able to hug someone and feel safe and comforted, not alone. However if there are bans on this then they may not be able to feel that comfort because they are afraid that they may get in trouble. There for I find it to be over controlling.

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