Friday, November 09, 2007

Hugging ban enforced

By now, most of you have probably heard of the 12 and 13-year-old girls who got detention for hugging their friends. The hugs apparently broke a rule against "public displays of affection" that the school had.

Here at New Moon, we've been talking about this piece of news a lot. Julia Barenboim, New Moon's Assistant Online Editor, says, "We already live in such a cold, material-based society, and now we are discouraging positive relationships in children even more. And we wonder why teens [can be] so harsh and emotionally unresponsive? Adults frequently blame this on technology, but it sure seems the picture is a lot more 3-D than that. I also thought it was interesting that they made a huge point to say they weren't 'full frontal' hugs - um, there's really nothing wrong with that either . . . can't school officials tell the difference between something sexually inappropriate and two friends connecting?"

I wondered the same thing. While I understand the school's need -- and responsibility -- to watch out for sexual harrassment, banning hugs seems like a lazy way of ignoring the real problem, which is consent or lack of it. It's pretty easy to tell by looking whether a hug is welcome or not -- when you see by someone's body language that she's clearly not welcoming the hug, that's the time to step in.

These schools say they're trying to prevent sexual harrassment or distracting romantic scenes in the school hallways. But both girls who got detention insist that they didn't do anything wrong. Although I understand where the school's policy is coming from, I have to say I agree with the girls on this one.

But I'm interested in hearing what you have to say. Have you heard about the punished huggers? Does your school have "no hugging" rules? Do you hug your friends? Do you think the rules are fair, or over the top? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment!


Layla said...

I didn't hear of the punished huggers until I logged onto New Moon. But our school DOES have a "no contact" rule, which includes hugging, kissing, and the like. I suppose it's to keep girlfriends and boyfriends at an appropiate level. Although I have friends who hug other friends on campus. Of course, it's not right in front of a teacher. Based on my teachers's reactions to this rule however, I think they keep the rule in more for show at our school than giving actual punishment for it. Which is why I was suprised when I read girls had actually been PUNISHED for hugging.

Anonymous said...

I think it is amazing that u could be punished, but there are booys at my school who go up to smaller girls, and hug them, swinging them off there feet.

Beverly said...

"Public displays of affection" is such a cliche as to lose its meaning. In using that phrase, is the school saying it's OK to hug somewhere private? That's not what they mean, of course; you don't want kids hiding to show affection. However, if you simply banned "displays of affection" or "affection," the language of the rule would be more obviously stupid.

DJMA said...

Hmm. I hug my friends all the time. Even my guy-friends. I think it's fine to hug. Like on the last day of school, most of my friends were going on vacations so we all hugged each other. I think it's fine to hug.

Anonymous said...

Dear New Moon,
I can see why the school enforced those rules, because they want to ward off innapropriate sexual contact. And I can agree with that, because I do not believe in sexual contact with the opposite sex at young age. But these are friends. Hugging. It's not like they're kissing each other!

Anonymous said...

To: The anonymous who wrote at 2:45 p.m.

Now those boys are the perfect example of the hugging ban. That's the kind of people who need to be punished.-Nobodie

Anonymous said...

I don't think I can get enough hugging!! I make it a point every day to hug each of my friends good morning and I give little squeezes and hugs throughout the day. I go to an all girls school so sometimes people look at me oddly when they think I'm showing over the top affection for a friend. It's sad that schools think that they should bond building between people. I know that there is harassment, but punishing hugging is not the way to stop it.

Anonymous said...

My reading teacher has us read news articles, and one of them was about hugging! The paper said that it makes most teens feel better about themselves and that hugging also prevents suicide! I think it's completely unfair that teachers would prevent something good like this. And what in the WORLD goes on in the teacher's lounge? For all we know, they could do it themselves!

Anonymous said...

Hug! Hug! All the day,
Let your love and passion stay!
Detention is overrated
It's not as if you mated
So Hug all the day! Hey!
[to be sung to the tune of "Row Row Row Your Boat"]