Among the slackers, kids who are tardy to class, and kids with “attitude problems,” fourteen-year-old Cazz Altomare joins the merry band in detention…for the unthinkable crime of hugging. In Bend, Oregon, Sky View Middle school officials have implemented a school rule banning hugs in an effort to create an “environment that’s focused on learning, and learning proper manners.” But if this middle school truly is interested in providing an environment conducive to learning, why would it strive to implement a rule stunting emotional growth?
Sadly, Sky View Middle School is not the only school that has enforced such a policy. In Oak Park, Illinois, Oak Park Middle School has cracked down on the hugging problem because as principal Victoria Sharts states, “Hugging is really more appropriate for airports and family reunions.” The ban on hugs is part of the school’s new “comprehensive” campaign to stop bullying. As a part of this plan, and to stop the apparent inappropriateness of any physical contact whatsoever, Oak Park has decided that even high-fiving in the hallways will be frowned upon.
By banning hugs and other forms of affection, the schools teach students that physical displays of affection are unnatural. They create sterile environments devoid of caring and love. In a society that already is largely disconnected with its feelings and is preoccupied with things like reality TV, video games, and alternative reality simulations, schools need to promote true emotional responses instead of the shallow responses fostered by technology. If more schools continue to enforce this ridiculous “no hugging” policy and treat displays of affection as a criminal offense, children of the next generation will have a better relationships with their cell phone than with other human beings.
This clip is 22 News' coverage of the policy banning hugs in Forest Park Middle School in Illinois.