Tuesday, March 25, 2008

First It Was Speech Codes...

The next battle appears to be hug bans. A ban on hugging in K-12 schools?

Of course, as was the case when I was in school, lo these many years ago, there were policies against public displays of affection. Generally, the rules permitted holding hands, maybe arms around shoulders or waists (but nothing lower). Theoretically, the policies banned kissing but in reality such rules were hard to enforce and so long as the kissing individuals weren't shoving their tongues down each other's throat or otherwise acting overly engaged, most teachers and administrators didn't enforce the 'no-kissing' rule, it was just too hard to police. Incidences of forced kissing were treated as they should be, as an assualt and dealt with pretty harshly. In short, the policy clearly permitted hugging and holding hands, and obstensibly banned other public displays of affection, but the reality of the policies were that they set a boundary for what was acceptable affectionate behavior. Common sense prevailed.

While actions such as this one, a so-called "cuddle puddle", are probably over the line (and it has nothing to do with the bi-sexual/homosexual overtones--just so that we are clear) as being a little to crass to be tolerated, the regulation of physical contact strikes be as more than just a little paranoid.

On a different note, do I detect a conflict here? There is the message mixing that comes to mind with a hug ban. Pardon me, but I thought the purpose of "modern" education was to make children feel good about themselves, the so-called "self-esteem" education. I don't know about other guys, but I always felt good in general and about myself after getting a hug--especially from my girlfriend or just a random pretty girl. I would imagine (hope?) that my girlfriends felt the same about getting a hug from me.

Plus, how do we help children learn boundaries of acceptable public behavior if we ban all sorts of otherwise acceptable public behavior. Walking up to a complete stranger and giving them a hug may be objectionable , but when did hugging friend, of either sex, become unacceptable behavior? I hug my friends (men and women) all the time, it is acceptable public behavior. But by banning hugs, we tell kids that hugging is not acceptable, that human contact is something to be abhorred. How absolutely ludicrous is that?

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