Citing Personal Space Concerns, Australian Primary School Bans Hugging
Every year, they get worse. No, not your neighbor’s raucous barbecues that always seem to devolve into shouting matches and breaking glass by nightfall.
No, today we’re talking about the nanny state.
Now, people have used this term to indicate many different kinds of authority overreach. But the truth is the term first came into use as people noticed how ridiculous schools and other entities who have authority over kids have become in their attempts to “protect” them.
Remember the little children who were kicked out of their elementary schools for drawing pictures of guns? Or for pointing their fingers like a gun? Then there’s the stories of “free-range” kids, like the ones in Maryland whose parents were repeatedly detained by the police for the high crime of allowing their ten- and six-year-old to walk home from the playground on a Saturday afternoon. And a recent story about a little boy in the UK who was reported to the police for mispronouncing terrace apartment (his teacher thought he said “terrorist apartment”) comes to mind.
But this time the Australian zero-tolerance police may have outdone even themselves. It seems a primary school principal in Australia has decided to do away with hugging.
Yes, you read that right. Hugging. The innocent arms of a child reaching up for a bit of affection, a scrap of human contact and warmth, is no longer allowed.
Principal John Grant of the Geelong West Primary school has banned hugging and suggested that students find other ways of showing affection. He suggested high fives and fist bumps as appropriate substitutes, suggesting that the move was necessary to teach children about personal space and respect for others.
The president of the Parents and Friends Association for the school, Robyn Tigani, said the idea came about when it was observed that older students were hugging younger ones at the start of the year considering them little and “cute.” Keep in mind, by “older students” here we’re talking about 12-year-olds. It is after all a primary, or elementary school.
Parents learned of the hugging ban from their kids and it is reported that most of them were amused by it. One parent reported that their child told them that kids are “…not allowed to hug your friends or teachers, but you can hug your mum.”
To be sure, Principal Grant has since backtracked and stated that the new rules are not meant to indicate a “…blanket ban on hugging.” But one wonders how much of that is a simple attempt to save face as the story makes the rounds.
Grant might have been better off if hadn’t opened up this can of worms to begin with and exposed his weird dislike of affection.
If only someone had hugged him more often when he was a boy…