Thursday, May 28, 2009

How about a Hug?

My younger son got in trouble at school recently for exuberantly expressing his feeling for a friend with a chest bump. His school has a policy of zero tolerance for physical contact between students -- and so the boys were suspended from recess for three days (the exact same punishment as girl who punched another child in the nose so hard it bled).

I thought about this policy as I read today's NY Times article about the new trend among teenagers for saying hello with a hug. Many of the adults interviewed for the article expressed concern about this practice -- indeed, several schools have banned hugs altogether. So whatever happened to "hugs not drugs"? Do we really distrust kids and teens that much that we must forbid innocent expressions of affection? Truly, I think the experts have it wrong on this one...

Note: A version of this post is included in the anthology Songs of Ourselves, published by Blue Heron Book Works.

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