Sunday, November 11, 2007

Detention! ....For Hugging?

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.


James DiPietro said...
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Maren said...

First of all, I was also a little annoyed by the font choice... It could be an effective method depending on the audience you are trying to reach. For those already interested in non-violence and hug-bans, the time and effort it takes to copy/paste/change font would be worth it. However, if you are trying to reach a broader audience and win over people not initially inclined to make this extra effort, this would not be so effective. At first I thought this was just a mistake, but as James pointed out, it could also be an attention-grabbing method.
As far as the hug-banning itself is concerned, I was really upset to read about this. I feel there is a difference between GOOD physical contact/ a method of showing care and support and bad physical contact, such as violence or sexual abuse. This ban on hugs reinforces the misconception that physical contact is inherently bad, fostering either sexual misdemeanors or violent actions. I think this school policy really needs to be rethought and revised to better reflect the school's supposed campaign to stop bullying and encourage learning.

Mariana Newman said...

I really think that the font thing was a mistake, and that we've been so well trained in analyzing tactics that it's gone a little to far! :)

I think the school's decision to ban hugs is completely ludicrous and another example of schools taking drastic measures because of our very litigious society. I feel like schools are so scared now of lawsuits that they overreact to everything. The whole debate surrounding school policies about food allergies is another example that has been in the news a lot lately.
You'd think that schools faced with bullying problems would be happy that their students were getting along so well that they were hugging eachother! As a person who appreciates the value of a good hug, this is just too much!

Marianne said...

Soo, not really sure what you all are talking about with the font thing. It shows up as times new roman for me. And just a thought, no sane person would pick wingdings as a font choice - it's got computer glitch written all over it. As for the article itself, I personally remember a lot of problems at my middle school that needed addressing, and hugging wasn't one of them. It's ridiculous to ban hugs, and it's probably unhealthy too not to mention about the least-effective anti-bullying tactic I've ever heard.

Anonymous said...

We have such good analyzers!
I was not that careful...

As for hug-banning, first of all, I thought it was so ridiculous as others commented.

Because I think that those schools totally missed the point-hugging is one of the ways to "prevent" bullying by feeling warmness of people rather than the "cause" of violence.
We learned this from "Free Hug Campaign", which also was presented by Gabbie!

Even in Japan where we do not have the culture of hugging inherently, young generation have started to say that we should promote this culture since we have come to know that it works to share emotions.

However, after I read Mariana's comment, I realized that those schools, which banned hugging, may have been feared to be accused.

But still they should not have banned hugging, I believe.

Fumi said...

Sorry, above is me, Fumi.