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.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Cinema adventure re: Disabilities

I recently watched both Coming Home and The Waterdance. Jon Voight and Eric Stoltz respectively, had the lead roles in these films about post-injury rehabillitation. Each did a great job playing a person with SCI, and will join Daniel Day-Lewis(My Left Foot) among actors I do respect for trying to understand disability in order to portray it. Obviously, I'd prefer to see actors with disabilities in these roles, but at least some films address issues without focusing on pity or suicide.

I liked that both of these films (all three, actually) showed people with disabiliies living independently; doing things like working, driving cars, and having a sex life. But nearly every such character I can think of in a movie is a man. Does anybody know of any films like this, featuring disabled women?