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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?

Join The Conversation
blondeyy blondeyy 7 years
Anonymous: "No offense but this might be the root to all your problematic students." Seriously? :scared:
blondeyy blondeyy 7 years
"Hugs not Drugs". I like that statement. I think drugs would be the underlying root to teenage violence, not hugging. Please..... :hug:
sarah-lynn sarah-lynn 8 years
I am an educator in a high school, and right now I am at the point with my classes that I am all for hugging bans. Kids don't know when to cut it out, and the hugging gets to the point where it detracts from my lessons because they just won't get out of each others' personal space.
msmoney23 msmoney23 8 years
This is SOOOO stupid, I can't believe they're making such a controversy over hugging! wow.
polkadots567 polkadots567 8 years
HUGS NOT DRUGS! I think it is incredibly stupid they banned hugging from schools... it is a way students show they are good friends! I can understand banning making out in the hallways and stuff like that, but that makes sense because no one really wants to see that. I'm all for hugs, and I think its great that kids aren't fighting instead
Jinx Jinx 8 years
Hugging is a positive thing. I agree, students shouldn't be "going at it" in the halls, but a hug is only a hug, and I think its nice that students are showing love and support to each other.
lickety-split lickety-split 8 years
what happened to "hugs not drugs".
zuke zuke 8 years
Ridiculous! If someone was going to shoot someone else or pass drugs or touch them inappropriately, then they'd probably do it no matter what. Banning hugs is not going to solve anything.
HoneyBrown1976 HoneyBrown1976 8 years
I teach high school kids for a living and this is utter bull. Are you kidding? Hugs are more threatening to other things I've seen? Get a grip.
aanyanka aanyanka 8 years
This no hugging rule is not new...I once received a month worth of Saturday school for hugging a friend in between class when I was in high school in the mid 90's.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
Oh dear lord, this is so stupid. Can you really tell me that school administrators have nothing better to do than try to ban hugs? There wasn't even mention of actual unwanted touching, just a "wariness" of it. Calm down people. Seriously.
mguy414 mguy414 8 years
I'm sorry but I would have definitely freaked out if a random person came up to me and hugged me, in high school or even now. I really don't like people touching me AT ALL, and I could see it potentially leading to a fight. I don't particularly agree with an outright ban on hugging, because that seems ridiculous and how on earth can you really enforce that? But those who enjoy hugs or like to give hugs need to respect those that don't like hugs. I've had a few experiences where I have politely told someone that I don't really like hugs and they continue to try and hug me, laughing it off like I'm joking.
KatharineMTHW KatharineMTHW 8 years
this is silly, hugs rule
margokhal margokhal 8 years
SpilledCandy, the problem is that a lot of these rules are made retroactively, after someone has already successfully filed a complaint against the district. Many times it's based on somewhat isolated incidents that should have just been handled individually, but they make new blanket rules so that it doesn't happen again [our school district is VERY large, but they're strapped for cash, so they don't have money to waste it in lawsuits]. So the fear isn't entirely unfounded - at least with the districts that I know of. But if you banned ANY FORM of contact whatsoever - oh the lawsuits would just POUR! :D It's not that they don't allow ANY form of hugs or contact, but [at least when I was in school, that was about 5-6 years ago so I don't know how much the rules have changed since then] they did point out that there can be contact that is inappropriate. What would be considered a "sexual" hug is one of them. I think there's some standards to meet for the hug to be sexual, it's not completely arbitrary. I'm not saying I agree with them banning hugs, I think it's kind of ridiculous, especially when there's other behavior they've banned for good reason that hasn't stopped - but I can see why they would adopt such a policy. Maybe somebody should tell these schools to "hug it out". :)
SpilledCandy SpilledCandy 8 years
Margo, then if that's the fear, the fear of harassment and lawsuits, they should certainly go all the way and ban ALL forms of touching. Period. Between students, faculty or anyone at all on school property. Problem solved.
margokhal margokhal 8 years
I personally don't like people touching me in general, but I wouldn't support a BAN on hugs. Even so, I can see where the administration is coming from...sort of. When I was in middle and high school [both public schools, mind you], there was this huge fear of teens acting out sexually. We had a LONG program about sexual harassment in school/health class, and one of the things that was brought up as harassment were "sexual hugs". And pretty much everyone in the class did a major "WTF?! Hugs are awesome!!!" There's a very fine line between what is considered an "appropriate" hug and a "sexual" hug. I can tell the difference NOW [usually when the people's hips are touching, they're full-frontal facing each other, like they're about to have sex - that would be a sexual hug], but I don't think most students care that much. If people don't want others to give them hugs, sexual or otherwise, then they should speak up about it. If it doesn't stop, then it's harassment. School districts just don't want to end up in lawsuits from crazy parents about "why did you let them act sexually in class?! I don't care if it was just a hug - now my daughter's pregnant!" - types of things.
SpilledCandy SpilledCandy 8 years
This is a rule that has no place, anywhere. Public hugging is a form of social interaction, not a means of initiating fights or gang shootings. I'm sorry, Bran, but that claim is specious at best. Show me the statistics, not simple anecdotes. Teens need to be allowed to touch each other in a non-sexual fashion, and outlawing a simple gesture like hugging gives fuel to the fire that the only touching that is EVER ok is the sexual kind. If a kid is gonna shoot someone, banning hugging sure won't stop it. Let's get our heads on straight and see the big picture. If hugging is banned, it's not a far stretch to ban ALL forms of touching between students or faculty. Which goes beyond asinine.
Chouette4u Chouette4u 8 years
Bran, if one kid brings a gun to school to shoot another kid, do you think that a rule banning hugging is going to stop them?
bransugar79 bransugar79 8 years
Yes chouette seriously. I've seen it happen in person and people have gotten hurt. I don't think it's all kids and it's not even a majority, but schools are faced with dealing with kids as a group not on an individual basis. try explaining to a parent how their kid got shot while it looked like they were hugging a friend and maybe you won't think it's so funny
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