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Should Teen Hugging Be Banned in High Schools?

With so much bad news coming from high schools (teen violence, low test scores, the list goes on), you’d think that the ubiquity of hugging would be a welcome sign that all is well with American teenagers. Think again!

Some school administrators are wary of this hug-happy generation. “Touching and physical contact is very dangerous territory,” says Noreen Hajinlian, the principal of a junior high school in Hillsdale, NJ, who banned hugging two years ago. “It was needless hugging — they are in the hallways before they go to class. It wasn’t a greeting. It was happening all day.” It sounds like a bad joke, but Hajinlian isn’t the only one who’s banned hugging. Schools across the country, wary of lawsuits, have risked seeming like scrooges and banned what some call the "hello" of the younger generation.

Hmmm. How bad could teen affection be? (Remember the Hugs Not Drugs mantra?) Even boys are in on nonromantic hugging. In an era where teens are living online and socializing via texting and social networking on Facebook and MySpace, real world touchy-feelyness seems like a good way to balance out virtual communication, if you ask me. What do you think?

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