Student given detention for hugging her friends

Filed under: Teens, Day Care & Education

This trend towards banning hugging at school has me a little worried. Ellie is a big time hugger. She hugs everyone she knows all the time. I've talked to her about it and warned her that some kids aren't comfortable with all that affection, but she's just naturally a huggy kind of girl. I fear that one day she will hug someone at school and get in trouble like this girl did.

Megan Coulter is an eighth-grader at Mascoutah Middle School in Illinois who innocently gave two friends a little goodbye hug one Friday at school. That same day after classes ended, the assistant principal sentenced her to two days detention for the offense. Superintendent Sam McGowen says the penalty is fair because it is spelled out in the student handbook, which states: "Displays of affection should not occur on the school campus at any time. It is in poor taste, reflects poor judgment, and brings discredit to the school and to the persons involved. First offenders will be warned. Second offenders will serve detention and a parent conference will be held. Third offenders will serve in-school suspension."

You see, this was considered a second offense because she hugged two people.

Megan's mom, Melissa Coulter, says, "It's hilarious to the point of ridicule. I'm still dumbfounded that she's having to do this." Megan's parents agreed that their daughter would serve her time because they don't want her to get in any more trouble - she would be suspended for each day of detention she missed. But they also plan to attend the next school board meeting to urge board members to rewrite the policy to be more specific in what it considers a display of affection.

Unfortunately, I don't think rewriting the policy is going to make things any better. Hugging will likely be on the list of things that are in 'poor taste, reflect poor judgment and bring discredit to the school'. I don't know what Ellie's school handbook says about hugging, but I guess I had better find out before she gets in trouble for it.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.