Thanks to several readers who sent me this story
about the Fairfax middle school who has a new rule: "No touching allowed!"
Fairfax County middle school student Hal Beaulieu hopped up from his lunch table one day a few months ago, sat next to his girlfriend and slipped his arm around her shoulder. That landed him a trip to the school office.
Among his crimes: hugging.
All touching -- not only fighting or inappropriate touching -- is against the rules at Kilmer Middle School in Vienna. Hand-holding, handshakes and high-fives? Banned. The rule has been conveyed to students this way: "NO PHYSICAL CONTACT!!!!!"
.....It isn't as if hug police patrol the Kilmer hallways, Hernandez said. Usually an askance look from a teacher or a reminder to move along is enough to stop girls who are holding hands and giggling in a huddle or a boy who pats a buddy on the back. Students won't get busted if they high-five in class after answering a difficult math problem.
Typically, she said, only repeat offenders or those breaking other rules are reprimanded. "You have to have an absolute rule with students, and wiggle room and good judgment on behalf of the staff," Hernandez said.
This no touch rule seems wrong in so many ways, I don't know where to begin. I used to think schools were becoming like prisons, but honestly, prisoners have more rights. As one parent so aptly put it in the article, "how will you teach students right from wrong?" Indeed, how? For, if every behavior is seen in terms of black and white, how will kids learn where the boundaries are? Physical touch, along with adult guidance teaches kids where the boundaries are, no touching at all teaches them that normal expressions of behavior are aberrant--or that they have to sneak behind the backs of those in authority to get or show affection. What kind of lesson is that to teach?
Because we do not allow fighting of any kind, kids no longer know how to fight and when they become enraged, they go overboard and hurt others in ways that before were unimaginable. Kids can no longer be touched in appropriate ways so some engage in sex early as a way to get any kind of affection denied to them by society. Heck, most adults stay so far away from kids they don't know (or those they do know) for fear of being called a pervert or abuser that many kids lack for adult companionship and mentoring. So they grow up lonely. And patting a buddy on the back or a decent handshake is against the rules? Give me a break, no wonder kids are not learning manners-comradery and decency are now outlawed under the guise of "inappropriate touch." We cannot allow beuraucrats to teach our children that all
human touch is bad. It isn't--even at (gasp!) school. The school should definitely reconsider the rule.