by Michele Zipp
When discussing what's wrong with the world today, we can start by looking at what's happening in schools and with children. There is bullying that seems far worse than anything happening 20 years ago. There is violence of children against children -- Sandy Hook and Columbine just to name two. There are teachers who do inappropriate things. I could go on and on. And so as a result of this, a school has banned hugging. At St. Mary’s County public elementary schools in Maryland, parents can hug their own child, but they cannot hug or touch any other child.
What's sad is everything that is wrong with the world today forces us to make these kinds of rules. And these are the kind of rules that are somewhat dehumanizing. We could become emotionless and rigid. We could end up fearing socialization.
A panel of parents and teachers came up with this rule after a series of meetings. It's not just the hugging that is banned. Kids at St. Mary's County schools cannot hand out party invitations at school in fear those not invited would feel bad. Any food brought in by parents cannot be home-baked and instead must be store-bought with an ingredient list (due to allergies). Parents cannot discipline other people's kids (a rule I very much approve of). They also instated the rule that parents can't walk with their child when he or she leaves the cafeteria and they cannot approach teachers for a meeting in person -- it should be planned. Siblings are not allowed to visit and parents cannot walk with their child when leaving the cafeteria. Anyone visiting the school must check in with the front desk and have their photo taken.
Some of these make sense for safety. Some may be a result of issues the school had. And a lot has to do with what our society has become. These rules were decided upon prior to the Sandy Hook shootings, but because of it, they decided to roll them out sooner. "Everybody’s anxiety is high," Kelly Hall, executive director of elementary schools, told Southern Maryland Newspapers Online.
But I just can't help but think about the hugging. What comes to my mind is that perhaps they fear inappropriate hugs from other parents, which is hopefully a very rare thing. This rule also extends to any kind of touching, so even a high-five would be prohibited. It seems like we make this kind of rule because of a small minority of the population and then everyone has to change to prevent some sort of issue that probably won't happen. I also think a hugging ban isn't going to prevent someone from doing something sinister ... if that's what this is about. Evil doesn't follow rules.
If this rule was in place at my kids' school, we'd have an issue. My daughter hugs everyone -- other moms, other kids, her teachers. Some of the moms we've had playdates with, but she has hugged moms who we've only so far seen at pick-up and drop-off. In this case, it's not one of the parents who initiates the hug, it's the child. What happens then? What kind of action comes when someone breaks this rule? What should a parent do if another child initiates a hug?
Maybe we've gone too far. Maybe we're too worried about too many things. But when we live in a world like we live in and what it's become, I guess we have to be.
What do you think of a no hugging rule? Do you think this school district went too far?
by celticgodessMarch 21, 2013 at 10:01 PM
Yes this is not only ridicilous, but sad. I realize we don't live in a world where a village raises the child anymore, but to think a good techer can't give my sad child a hug or my proud child a high five or pat of the back?! Disgusting!
by bbkimberlyMarch 23, 2013 at 1:45 PMThis is what's in place at our elementary - our kinders and some of the primary grades will hug briefly and we just monitor the situation. With my kinders my only concern is that one may make the other feel uncomfortable if they don't want the contact. Sometimes one will pick up the other and my concern there is one drops or somehow hurts the other. I'M not even supposed to lift a child because of safety issues that works both ways. I could hurt my back, child could have been hurt, etc That may sound silly but I don't want a parent upset at me if something goes awry. I once got scolded years ago because a kinder girl fell off a small play structure ladder and the step/bar hit her privates. Her scream of pain sent me into parent mode. I scooped her up in my arms and rushed her into the nurses office. It took all i had in me not to cry. Even though my superior was not too pleased with me her mother loved how I cared for her like she was my own and was grateful that I took care of her. She and I are friends to this day:) We have the same rules regarding bringing food. We have many children with allergies and even have a peanut free table. We also have the same policy regarding party invites and I agree with that one. Our classes average 33 students and if parents for whatever reason are not going to have a party for that large of a group then passing out invites at school isn't allowed. I have seen children's feelings get hurt when one of my students will just talk about their upcoming party and another asks "can I come" and the birthday child says that they don't know or anything else along those lines. I know that little ones don't know how to handle those situations but it's still sad to see. My former and current students always come up to me and give me hugs. Those that have parents that I know well will get a huge hug from me because they are comfortable with me. I see one frequently out at the store with mom and/or dad and I will shower her with lots of love. She is one of my all time favorites and her brother is in middle school with my daughter. Our policy with parents on campus has the rule of checking in at the office and getting a sticker. It's all about safety. Our campus is open- no fences at all so my staff needs to be able to spot anyone out of place. We have a similar rule regarding lunch time. If you bring their forgotten lunch it goes into the office and the student has to pick it up. Having lunch with your child is to be rare and the reasons are that 1- this is a time for independence and not having lunch with mom. Sometimes the younger kids will latch on to the parent and not go out to play. They need to interact with their peers. 2- again, safety. Can't have all these parents all over the place. We do have one day out of the year called loved ones day where parents, grandparents, aunts, etc can spend time a specified time during the day with their student. It includes activities in the classroom and lunchtime. I love that day. It's nice to meet family members:) As for meetings between parents and teachers that should be scheduled. I can see a quick question at the end of the day that would take a minute as long as the teacher has the time for it- a teacher may need to leave for something important. Anything more than that should have an appointment.
March 23, 2013 at 6:49 PM
No.Teachers hug kids all the time and kids hug kids too