Won’t somebody please think of the unhugged children?
A primary school in Western Australia has taken the eminently sensible move of handing out detention to a 12 year old student who hugged a classmate, in a major victory for behavioural and education standards.
As revealed by the extremely huggable journalist Chris Paine on news.com.au today, Bunbury’s Adam Park Primary School has a longstanding ban on hugs, yet the girl cynically thumbed her nose at school rules, and has been punished accordingly.
The incident shines an overdue spotlight on the scourge of hugs at a time when school playgrounds are awash with numerous less serious transgressions which attract far more attention from the useless, myopic media.
Forget “sexting”. Never mind bullying, abusive language, smoking, drinking, party drugs, Facebook parties which run amok and the rest of it.
This school has rightly identified hugging as an extremely serious practice which has the potential not only to alienate the unhugged, but to cause actual physical damage.
As the acting principal of the school said, “we introduced a rule about hugging last year after parents complained about their children being hurt. For example, some children received bruised ribs from an over-enthusiastic hug.”
The acting principal also said:
“This behaviour was getting out of control with students hugging each other several times a day, and this was becoming disruptive to classes.”
This judicious educator should be applauded for taking such a bold stance, while the child’s parents must be roundly condemned for demanding an apology from the school.
An apology? A stern letter, more like. The school is clearly in the right here. It has wisely overlooked the fact that students in its lower grades significantly lag behind the national average in reading, spelling, grammar & punctuation and numeracy.
In a welcome throwback to the days when discipline was everything, these brave teachers have sent a message that hugging can lead to camaraderie or even a sense of belonging – traits which have no place in a competitive education system.
In other news, Israel Folau has quit the AFL for similar reasons, citing too many hugs. The former rugby league player says he is keenly looking forward to returning to an environment where the arse-pat is the accepted form of greeting.
Hug me on Twitter @antsharwood
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