Monday, June 06, 2005

Eighth-Grader Gets Detention for Hugging?

According to news coverage of eigth-grader Cazz Altomare's recent detention, It's now against the rules for some middle-school students to hug each other during the school day. I think I understand what the administrators of these schools are getting at-- Any time spent at the mall or skating rink will provide an ample lesson in unbridled 14-year-old affection, and it isn't comfortable for most of us "older" folks. In fact, my daughter, now sixteen, even cringes when reminded of her PDA at that age. But hug-banning is not likely to create a positive environment at school, in my opinion.

First, any introductory psych textbook will tell you, eighth-graders' purpose in life is to stake a claim on their independence from adults: drawing such unusually strict lines in the sand for them is like begging them to jump across. Second, peer-bonding is a priority for them; any interference from authority is likely to create defensiveness and rebellion.

The adults quoted in the article are correct when they say it can be difficult to separate "sexual" hugging from "non-sexual." But if the only sexual thing happening in their hallways is hugging, I can tell you they're a long way ahead of my high-school, and my daughter's. Why do they feel the need to micro-manage the students even more?

Hat-tip to Peter Webster and Audacity Magazine.

2 comments:

My desires said...

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My desires said...

I'm researching for The purpose driven life and this on Eighth-Grader Gets Detention for Hugging? is useful so thanks cynthia. Anny