To the news that a New Jersey middle school officially banned hugging, I have one immediate response: Why are kids hugging each other in middle school in the first place?
(Of course, I attended a Catholic school where we would have been ducking rulers if the good Sisters had caught any one of us hugging. )
Such a rule might limit teachers giving students in hugs but I’m not sure there’s much of that anymore in the current environment.
I have seen teachers embrace students coming back to school after a death in the family, and I would assume that gestures of consolation would still be allowed. I also suspect that students who hug a classmate in the same circumstances will not be tripped up by this new rule.
My older daughter always talked about the strict PDA ban in her private high school — no public displays of affection — but the rule applied largely to couples who were dating.
I haven’t seen much girl/boy romantic hugging in our local middle school. What I see are girls rushing up to greet each other in the morning with exaggerated hugging — as if they hadn’t seen each other in years. I always thought the scenes were simply delay tactics in the morning to avoid going to homeroom.
The district says Matawan-Aberdeen Middle School Principal Tyler Blackmore made an announcement that students were in a “no hugging school” following some “incidents of unsuitable, physical interactions.”
School Superintendent David Healy says the district has the responsibility to teach children about appropriate interactions. The superintendent says despite the rule, students who hug will not be suspended.
The superintendent says he believes the principal acted responsibly.
Students range in ages from 11 to 14 in grades six to eight.
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog