November 7, 2007

Hug Threat Level: Orange

In Mascoutah, Illinois, Megan Coulter was suspended for hugging a friend. In Taiwan, meanwhile, the military quickly suspended its new program begun October 1 to welcome new soldiers with a hug. Hugging is dangerous stuff, whether in the military or in schools.  Apart from the documented threat that teenaged huggers will spread dangerous diseases such as the tendency to say "like" repeatedly in sentences or the even more life-threatening Leo Buscaglia Syndrome, there is surprisingly little research on hugging as it pertains to education policy.

Therefore, I hereby announce my policy recommendations on hugging:

  • Hugging should be a matter of choice. I don't particularly care whether this is a public or private choice, but as long as there is no money attached to hugging, I don't think anyone would care.
  • Performance pay for hugging is right out. Don't even think about it.
  • The ordinary rules of expression in schools should apply to hugging: schools may put time, place, and manner restrictions on hugging, but in general, as long as it is nondisruptive, it is absurd to ban hugging.
  • Hugging is not the same as freak dancing. Anyone who confuses the two (whether student or educator) needs to get a life or take a cold shower (depending on the circumstances).

Somewhat more seriously, stories about students being suspended for hugging friends or bringing ibuprofen to school illustrate a level of rigid regulation that can easily rise to absurdity. Schools should be able to ban necking without banning hugs, and schools should be able to create a drug-free environment without banning students from bringing tylenol or ibuprofen to school.

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Posted in Random comments on November 7, 2007 10:40 AM |