Schools in Canada have also banned shorts, Halloween and rainbows
Hormones may be starting to rage in students of middle school age, but one principal in New Jersey is telling his 900 students there is to be no more hugging.
Principal Tyler Blackmore announced that Matawan-Aberdeen Middle School is a "no hugging school" after "incidents of unsuitable, physical interactions," reports the Associated Press.
"First, I heard over the loudspeaker: 'We are a no hugging school,'" said student John Carelli to CBS 2. He added that the principal said "This is our new rule."
While students are upset with the new rule, parents don't seem happy either. Some parents are calling it "stupid" and "silly" as well as saying "I don't know what the big deal is."
CBS 2 reports on Wednesday night many parents received the following message from the principal:
"Hugging can be inappropriate and we want to make sure that there's no inappropriate physical contact. We certainly do not have a policy against hugging nor do we intend to [neither] have we suspended students for hugging."
The message also said the rule's goal is to keep students focused on academics.
While the hugging ban seems strange, it is definitely not the only strange thing a school has banned.
On the day the hugging ban was instituted in New Jersey, a Catholic school in the greater Toronto area banned shorts. For most of the year, students at St. Mary Catholic Secondary School in Pickering have to wear uniforms. On some days, known as "civilian" or "civvies," they could wear whatever they wanted. That is until vice-principal Paul Perron announced the war on shorts, khakis or ankle socks, reports the Toronto Star. With the high-temperatures on Thursday, many showed up in shorts, were called to the office and, in all, 63 were sent home to change.
In January, a middle school in the suburbs of Philadelphia banned the wearing of fuzzy open-top boots, which included the popular Ugg brand. The school did this because students were stashing their cellphones in the boots.
In October, Halloween was banned at an elementary school in Hamilton, Ont. The principal sent home two letters in the weeks leading up to the holiday explaining that students weren't allowed to wear costumes since celebrating takes away from "instructional time in the classroom," reports the Toronto Sun. The principal also said it created "safety and security" concerns as parents would be in the school taking pictures without permission. Students were also not allowed to bring in candy.
And in June, Catholic schools in the Dufferin-Peel board, just outside Toronto, banned rainbows. This came at a time when an unofficial gay-straight alliance at St. Joseph Catholic School in Mississauga wanted to display the rainbows at its information booth during an anti-homophobia event.
As for the middle school students in New Jersey, the superintendent says despite the rule, students caught hugging will not be suspended. With all the confusion over the rule, students plan to keep their hugging off school grounds.