Student Suspended for Breaking School's Zero-Tolerance No-Hugging Policy
PALM BAY, Fla. – A 14-year-old Florida student who hugged his friend was suspended as a result of his middle school's zero-tolerance no-hugging policy, myFOXorlando.com reported.
Nick Martinez said he gave a quick hug to his best friend, a female student, between classes.
The public display of affection was spotted by the principal of Palm Bay's Southwest Middle School, 74 miles southeast of Orlando. While the principal said he believed the hug was innocent, he brought the two students to the school's dean, who penalized them with in-school suspensions.
According to the Southwest Middle School's student handbook, students can receive a one-day out-of-school suspension for kissing, while students caught hugging or hand-holding are penalized with a dean's detention or suspension.
School administrators said a committee of parents approved the "no hugging" policy years ago, and there aren't plans to change it any time soon.
The school's strict policy stipulates that there is no difference between an unwanted hug, or sexual harassment, and a hug between friends.
Christine Davis, spokesman for Brevard County School said the school's "focus is on learning; therefore, we cannot discriminate or make an opinion on what is an appropriate hug, what's not an appropriate hug," said Davis. "What you may think is appropriate, another person may view as inappropriate."
"A lot of friends are hugging. I just happened to be the one caught doing it," Nick said. "Honestly, I didn't know because I didn't think hugging was a bad thing. I didn't know you could get suspended for it."
Nick's mother, Nancy Crecente, said she plans to ask the school board to change the policy.
I went to school with some guys who would have never survived high school if they were suspended every time they hugged a girl. One of them, a sweet guy who never meant anything inappropriate, was so notorious for hugging us girls, that one April Fool's day we got the vice principal involved in a prank that looked just like the reality posted above. Our friend was called in and written up for "Public Displays of Affection" and it wasn't until he'd gotten the whole treatment that the vice principal handed him an envelope (aka "letter home") that was really a note from his friends saying we'd hoaxed him.
Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.
What I find most amazing is the principal saying that because the focus is on learning they can't discriminate between a hug and harrassment. Last I checked, learning was all about discriminating between right and wrong, good and bad, correct and incorrect. Its like saying that because the focus is on writing they can't be bothered to teach research methods. Who are these people?
The mother of course, plans to take this to the school board. Good for her. But may I suggest she simply vote with her feet. Get her kid out of there.
And newsflash to school systems: in-school suspension is far worse for the kid than at home suspension. I never knew why schools deluded themselves into thinking it was the other way around. Heck there's all sorts of cool stuff to do at home. School is not the priviledge you think it is. And sitting in the suspension room staring at a wall is only moderately less boring than what most kids experience in the classroom anyway.