Lifestyle & Belief

'No more hugging,' NJ school tells students


Students (R to L) Michael Phillips, Hazzarra Dykes, Maurice Phillips and Brittany Foy from John McDonogh High School embrace at their prom June 1, 2007 in New Orleans, Louisiana.


Mario Tama

More than 900 students at a New Jersey middle school have been told to stop hugging each other.

The district says Matawan-Aberdeen Middle School Principal Tyler Blackmore made an announcement that students were in a "no hugging school" following some "incidents of unsuitable, physical interactions," the Associated Press reported.

The New York Daily News cited School Superintendent David Healy as saying while there was no policy against hugging in the district, the authorities had a responsibility to teach children about appropriate interactions.

The superintendent, said he believed the principal acted responsibly, although students who hugged would not be suspended despite the rule.

"There is no policy specific to hugging, and we have not, nor will we be, suspending students for hugging," he said in a written statement. "It is unfortunate that there are those who find purpose and humor in sensationalizing such a routine school-related issue at the expense and inconvenience of our children and our school community."

The students affected by the rule are aged from 11 to 14 attending grades six to eight.

According to ABC News, a handful of other schools across the US have instituted no hugging rules.

West Sylvan Middle School in Portland, Ore., banned students from hugging in 2010 after the principal said the embrace had become a disruption and even a bullying mechanism.

"I was observing students hugging other students and the other students didn’t feel comfortable," principal Allison Couch told at the time.

And a 14-year-old student at Southwest Middle School in Palm Bay, Fla., was suspended in November for briefly hugging a female student between classes.

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