New Jersey School Bans Students From Hugging

That social scourge, hugging, was put in its proper and rightfully shamed place by one New Jersey school this week.

The Principal of Matawan-Aberdeen Middle School in Cliffwood, New Jersey banned hugging after officials determined that too many students were engaged in “unsuitable, physical interactions” while hugging. The superintendent of the district, David Healy, said the restriction is a response to specific incidents that violated policies on inappropriate relationships.

“We have not, nor will we be, suspending students for hugging, Healy said in a statement. He added that the Board of Education does have policies in place to address bullying, inappropriate relationships and inappropriate conduct.“We have a responsibility to teach children about appropriate interactions and about having a structured, academically focused environment.”

All sarcasm aside, I agree wholeheartedly that school needs to be a safe place for children and teens. And as these groups are notorious boundary-pushers, I applaud the school for taking a stand on appropriate behavior. However, a hug is a fundamental of human society: a greeting, a comfort, an acknowledgement of regard or of esteem.

Surely the better alternative would have been to ensure the children knew what an “appropriate” hug was and what it wasn’t? Teaching boundaries, appropriate behavior for public places and creation of an open dialogue would probably be more effective than an outright ban on hugging. What’s next? A movie starring Kevin Bacon about the School That Wouldn’t Hug?

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Photo credit: D Sharon Pruitt on Flickr

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Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson3 years ago

They wouldnt be banning it if it hadn't been an issue, and teens love to push boundaries. But proper discipline and explanation of acceptable behavior should be the start. Banning it won't work.

Sarah M.
Sarah M.3 years ago

Ridiculous and an infringement on student's rights.

Audrey B.
Audrey B.3 years ago

Unbelieveable, hugging was back as far as I knew and I graduated on 1973. When friends meet up you hugged each other hello, and we still do at my age. This is just wrong.

Michael M.
Michael M.3 years ago

So, me giving the teachers and administrators of this school the single finger salute is acceptable then right?

Cindy Wade
Cindy W.3 years ago

Too bad....

Juliet D.
judith sanders3 years ago

Have any of you ever tried to write a school dress or behavior code? It's impossible to keep up with the rapidly changing teen culture, so you end up banning broad categories. The students are never going to give up trying to get away with stuff, but the adults do have to try to keep them focused on why they're in school.

Miranda Lyon
Miranda Lyon3 years ago

School teachers and administrators have endless opportunities to remind students about what kinds of touching are out of line without banning hugs. I always enjoyed seeing a group of girls greeting another friend with squeals and hugs...or a group walking around campus with their arms around one another. Boys in the age groups I taught were more likely to use high 5s or a quick arm around the shoulder. It seems such a shame to over-react to these wholesome actions.

Jennifer M.
Jennifer M.3 years ago

I have heard of schools banning hand holding too. Absolutely RIDICULOUS. I always hugged my friends, and still do. This is just another reason my kids will be homeschooled!

Grace B.
Grace B.3 years ago

Wow, and hugging is so good for us.

Patricia M.
Patricia M.3 years ago

What kind of perverted law iurthermore, how perverted is this school principal to even think hugging can be misconceived as bullying or a lewd act? All girl teens hug, even as far back as when I was in high school (graduated in 1963 from Bayonne High in Bayonne, NJ), my daughters and their friends hugged. I can honestly say that this country is slowing becoming undemocratic and is on the verge of Communistic but because of who sits in Congress; this is what it all boils down to... They are trying to control if we have children or not, now alienating kids from being kids, and limiting health access for seniors... What next?