Of all the things that schools could ban kids from doing, hugging is now apparently unacceptable behavior. At least in one New Jersey middle school.
Tyler Blackmore, the principal of Matawan-Aberdeen Middle School, instituted the rule following some “incidents of unsuitable, physical interactions,” MSNBC reports, declaring it a “no hugging school.”
Perhaps these are just some bold preemptive measures to prevent future Snookis and Situations from representing Jersey? We can’t help but wonder whether the school officials understand how basic human behavior works? Ban people from doing something—especially young teens— and they’ll want to do it even more, at least in the case of relationships.
Besides, even taking into account the “unsuitable” interactions the administration is referring to, what happens when a student’s friend is sobbing in tears after a bad day? Should a student really not be allowed to comfort their friend? What about wishing someone a happy birthday? Is shaking hands going to be the new form of congratulations and well-wishes between close friends?
“It makes our school look bad, and it makes our school look like we do more than hug, but we do not,” a student told MSNBC.
Sure, we all know kids are growing up faster these days, and there probably were students acting inappropriately, but this hardly seems like the answer. Take it from this writer, whose northern California elementary school tried to enforce a rule in the late ’90s limiting friend groups on campus to groups no larger than 3 people, in an effort to combat cliques. The backlash to that (quickly abandoned) ruling was likely a week from hell for administrators.
Luckily, school superintendent David Healy told the Huffington Post that no one will be punished for hugging, and that there are separate policies addressing inappropriate relationships and conduct.