May 28, 2009

Students who hug too much.

Should they be stopped?
A measure of how rapidly the ritual is spreading is that some students complain of peer pressure to hug to fit in. And schools from Hillsdale, N.J., to Bend, Ore., wary in a litigious era about sexual harassment or improper touching — or citing hallway clogging and late arrivals to class — have banned hugging or imposed a three-second rule....

“If somebody were to not hug someone, to never hug anybody, people might be just a little wary of them and think they are weird or peculiar,” said Gabrielle Brown, a freshman at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School in Manhattan.

Comforting as the hug may be, principals across the country have clamped down. “Touching and physical contact is very dangerous territory,” said Noreen Hajinlian, the principal of George G. White School, a junior high school in Hillsdale, N.J., who banned hugging two years ago. “It was needless hugging — they are in the hallways before they go to class. It wasn’t a greeting. It was happening all day.”
Needless hugging? Don't we need a hug?

75 comments:

TMink said...

I was scrutinized at a job for too much physical contact 20 years ago. I would pat people on the back regularly. One borderline woman at work complained to our director, and the director duly investigated by watching me for two weeks.

They decided it was not a problem when they noticed I did it to the director as well as a gay coworker. That cleared me! It was nice to have my lack of homophobia noticed.

But when they told me of the unknown to me test that I had passed, I stopped. A man does not need anything to put him in a place to be judged as sexualizing a relationship, many, too many people will just assume all men do that anyway.

Trey

David said...

Stop me before I hug again.

MadisonMan said...

I love how kids find things to do that make administrators nervous.

Jennifer said...

Needless hugging!?

What kind of person sees affectionate children and thinks THIS MUST BE STOPPED!?

Cue Freeman and the inevitable truth that hugging is allowed when homeschooling.

traditionalguy said...

People are all different. Some hugs are lustful. Some hugs are friendly. Some hugs are seductive. As to school rules, it is a silly Job Security program and Power Play by the School Administrators to No-tolerance every type of human behavior like an irrational Church Lady.

Penny said...

The consequence of more rules will always be less judgement, except in a court of law, of course.

America the Beautiful. Where has she gone?

goesh said...

-how utterly pathetic we have become

Curtiss said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Curtiss said...

“Touching and physical contact is very dangerous territory,” said Noreen Hajinlian, the principal of George G. White School, a junior high school in Hillsdale, N.J., who banned hugging two years ago.His poor students are now relegated to back-alley hugging with Lord knows who.

Bissage said...

Isn’t the whole point of this ostentatious and faddish hugging to make sure everyone knows who among them is unhuggable?

The cheese stands alone.

* sniff *

I need a hug!

Waaaaaaaaaaaaah.

Pogo said...

I think this was how the plot for THX 1138 began.

Palladian said...

"Touching and physical contact is very dangerous territory"

You bet it is, Noreen! Upsetting the Noreens of the world can only be a good thing.

That said, I hate hugging and being hugged. If someone tries to forcibly hug me, they are in danger of a swift punch in the gut.

Worse than hugging is the repulsive European habit of kissing people on the cheeks as a greeting. Revolting!

The Japanese have the perfect greeting, a bow from a respectful distance.

Jason (the commenter) said...

*Gives Bissage a hug*

*Cops a feel*

Original Mike said...

What goesh said.

Pogo said...

No touching.

No running.

No bullying.

No violence.

No weapons or potential weapons.

No competition.

No unsanctioned groups.

It's like reading the opening chapters of Dickens' Oliver Twist.

Has Noreen ever been to an inner city school? What a joke she is; she'd be eaten alive. After she was beaten and robbed.

MikeR said...

Speaking as a card-carrying male, hugs with those to whom I am attracted are 100% exciting. In the culture where I grew up, hugging someone was entirely a mutually agreed on activity (except maybe with your aunt). People who went around hugging everyone were being rude, intruding on other people's emotional space, and I guess it was appropriate to deal with them accordingly. Hugs are not emotionally neutral.

If the culture today in these schools (high schools, not elementary) is that people have to hug, I don't like it. I would have liked it a lot as a male in that school - but it's not fair to the people involved. Every guy who wants to gets to grab you? It's a watered down version of the culture, also widespread, that you have to participate in sexual activity or there's something wrong with you.

Doesn't mean that I think the school can or should act to stamp it out; that's a different type of issue.

bearbee said...

No guns, knives, toenail clippers or hugs. Next?

What both penny and goesh said.

Pogo said...

Noreen , Noreen , Noreen , Noreen
Needless hugging is so dangerous, Noreen

Noreen , Noreen , Noreen , Noreen
Don't let them hug just because they can

Your judgement is beyond compare
I long to improperly touch your hair
With diverse skin and mind of eco green
Your smile is like death's spring
Your voice commands there be no pain
And I cannot compete with you, Noreen

SteveR said...

As a parent with three teenagers, I've observed this a lot and it always struck me as a variation of the "Kiss Hello" episode of Seinfeld. Usually unnecessary, maybe silly and often annoying.

I recognize the line between innocent and age appropriate behavior and improper physical contact and otherwise disruptive activity, can be quite hard to distiguish in a crowded high school setting. As such, I can't be overly critical of attempts to control it. Unless you been a teacher or school administrator in the modern world of K-12, what seems unnecessary and dumb is not going to be the same as from surfing the internet at your desk in some office.

Lem said...

Some parents find it paradoxical that a generation so steeped in hands-off virtual communication would be so eager to hug.

If you were to look at social interaction as a diet, sometimes when we get an urge to eat something it’s really nothing more than our body asking for some missing nutrient.

Hugging may be some sort of natural response to all the artificial junk (texting – facebook – tweeter) that passes for social interaction.

Lem said...

Althouse excluded of course.

I love this site despite the cold ;)

traditionalguy said...

I heard a joke on Prarie Home Companion about Lutherans: The new priest forgot the "sharing of the peace" in the service, but this was a relief to the Lutherans who were always afraid someone would hug them. Hugging is also culturally determined (see, Borat). I had a male egyptian friend (Coptic version) who hugged men, but not women. Church rules it seems.

Jennifer said...

I've observed this a lot and it always struck me as a variation of the "Kiss Hello" episode of Seinfeld. Usually unnecessary, maybe silly and often annoying.

I think it could also be said that what might seem unnecessary, maybe silly and often annoying to an adult might not be the same as to a kid.

Shanna said...

If the culture today in these schools (high schools, not elementary) is that people have to hug, I don't like it. I would have liked it a lot as a male in that school - but it's not fair to the people involved. Every guy who wants to gets to grab you?.

Heh. When I went to high school there were a lot of should massages that seemed like guys just trying to get a hold of you. Not too much hugging, though.

This is why high school is retarded. They try to dictate everything they can, from when you eat, drink, when you can have a freaking aspirin and who you hug. Just leave it be, administrator assholes.

Lem said...

The growth of “meetings” addressing all kinds of “problems” people have might also fit in to this need that we have to interact.
A need that, as a result of our change over the last 200 years (see previous post) might be going unmet.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I'm with Palladian on this issue. Don't hug me! I don't even like to shake hands but I do because it is considered natural in a business setting.

I don't mind hugging my family and of course my husband. :-D But it is just weird and an intrusion into my personal space to have random people at social events or even somewhat close friends want to hug.

BACK OFF!!

Shawn Levasseur said...

Leo Buscaglia must be spinning in his grave.

Joan said...

What kind of person sees affectionate children and thinks THIS MUST BE STOPPED!?The kind of people like me, when the "affectionate children" are spending their time hugging in the hallways instead of going to class.

I can't see banning hugging altogether, but I can see telling the loitering teens to move along. "We were just hugging" isn't a good reason to be late for class.

Since I started subbing, I get hugs all the time, but usually from kids 10 and under. I haven't seen any evidence of hugging as a widespread greeting at the school I work at, but I'm in AZ. Thank God.

Shawn Levasseur said...

It could be that this is one of those "Trend Pieces" which are about trends that really don't exist, except to fill news print and air time.

Curtiss said...

I like hugs. Hugs provide a brief physical connection to other people that some of us could use, I think.

I wonder if most bloggers are against hugs.

Freeman Hunt said...

Cue Freeman and the inevitable truth that hugging is allowed when homeschooling.

Heh. True.

Hugging was in when I was in school. Adults my age often do this even now.

I had a male egyptian friend (Coptic version) who hugged men, but not women. Church rules it seems.

I'm a female version of your friend, except that it's not for religious reasons. If a woman or a gay man initiates a hug with me, I'll hug in return. If a straight man does it, he'll usually get an offered hand for a handshake.

I started this policy when I noticed that men sure wanted to hug me a lot. I'm not an idiot.

John Stodder said...

I blame Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

They started this hugging trend.

The next biggest offender was Bill Clinton. He hugged everybody.

We can't blame children for wanting to be like Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and Bill Clinton. We just need to teach our children well that hugging is embarrassing.

Freeman Hunt said...

The next biggest offender was Bill Clinton. He hugged everybody.

I would so not let Clinton hug me. Shake the hand, man.

Lem said...

Face to face communication is very complex and it has been evolving for thousands of years.

Were as non-face-to-face (starting with the drums I suppose) is relatively new.
So of course there is going to be some ‘response’ to this new thing being introduced as a replacement.
Think of hugging as an overreaction to try to revert things as it were.

Jennifer said...

Joan - If kids are loitering in the hallways and going to class late, banning hugging to get them to class on time seems about akin to banning guns to prevent crime.

Lem said...

I started this policy when I noticed that men sure wanted to hug me a lot. I'm not an idiot.

I'm sending a modest very short hug to Freeman.

(may it please the court ;)

traditionalguy said...

When does hugging get to the Althouse's "get a room stage"? That was kissing, I guess. But the combination of hugging and kissing can reach the critical mass that will create feelings that are hard to forget. So let's ban hugging and kissing for Susan Boyle, but not for the rest of us.

PaBo said...

Geeesh I would have been suspended dozens of times in HS had they had this kind of ban. My alcoholic step dad caused much sobbing, I got hugged often from friends and friends at Alateen. Plus my BF and I hugged and made out at lunchtime and breaks. Glad I am not in school anymore with these policies in place.

Lem said...

I say discourage it – but dont stop it altogether.

ricpic said...

The need to be hugged represents
The end of manly diffidence.

rcocean said...

Can't blame the schools for this. Why open yourself to a lawsuit?

Same with all the other "zero tolerance" nonsense. Its stupid - but its protection against parents & their lawyers.

Anthony said...

I noticed this trend a few years ago and I don't really like it. There are a few friends -- female! -- I would allow, but not many. Much too personal. WWEPD*?

I get a humorous kick out of the Man-Hug: when two men first clasp hands in a handshake and then use the other arm in a half-hug, making sure the two clasped hands form a barrier between. Whenever my Spousal Unit and I see this we look at each other and say "Man-Hug!"

I do not engage in Man-Hugging.

Egyptians normally do the cheek-kissing thing, although just between males. They generally are aware that we Westerners don't do that and proffer a hand instead.

* What Would Emily Post Do?

Pogo said...

I'm of the He-Man Hug-Hating Club myself.

Ann Althouse said...

"get a room"

... was about kissing.

NKVD said...

I like hugging. I hug all the women, except Miss Manners, who claims it's the same as being felt up. With a rack like hers, she may be right.

My son met Bill Clinton recently, shook his hand. I told him to immediately wash his hand. In bleach...

Kensington said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kensington said...

Hugging is fine, but the students should stop blowing each other on the school bus and casually turning each other into prostitutes.

Bissage said...

A while back, a fellow commenter here at Althouse – sorry, I can’t recall who it was -- used the word “hugger-mugger.”

For all this time I’ve been wanting to say thank you.

So . . . thank you.

Joan said...

Jennifer: Yes, exactly.

LordSomber said...

I, too, am a member of the He-Man Hug-Hating Club.
By the way, can we retire the Hi-Five already?

Lem said...

..can we retire the Hi-Five already?

What is a baseball player supposed to do after a homer?

You people need to chill ;)

Bissage said...

Back when I played sports, it was traditional that we shook hands with the opposing players immediately after a game. It was a no-hard-feelings kind of thing.

In professional baseball, that tradition has now devolved to where the players on the winning team give high-fives only to each other. They do it in front of the cameras and it looks . . . well . . . it looks . . . well . . . let’s just say it looks not completely congruent with traditional notions of athletic manliness, if you catch my drift there sailor.

So what’s my point?

Well, shouldn’t it be hugs? Professional baseball hugs but only the winners!

I mean . . . at least in front of the cameras, anyway.

In the locker room, they can all do whatever they like.

And what’s so funny about peace, love and understanding?

Penny said...

I'm not one of those women who feels a hug is like getting felt up. Just thought you should know in case I meet some of you one day.

Anthony said...

How about a hug and a butt squeeze?

High Five'n White Guys.

traditionalguy said...

How about wearing too strong of a scent? Old Spice guys in the area used to irritate me. The sense of smell is certainly activated by a good hug. I still remember some women by their perfumes. In high school my first serious girlfriend was a cheerleader and she smelled powerfully good after a game with her perfume and perspiration mixed together just right and spearment gum in her mouth. Those were the days. Why deny todays youngsters the best part of relationships?

John Stodder said...

How about wearing too strong of a scent? Old Spice guys in the area used to irritate me..

My liberal fascist side comes out when I'm assaulted by perfume or cologne. If I were on the City Council in Berkeley or Madison, I would probably vote for a law banning the wearing of perfume or cologne in public areas. I can't use the excuse that I'm allergic. I just hate it if I can smell it from four feet away.

I like perfume, in small amounts, on women, preferably worn in bed or while dancing cheek to cheek. I don't want to open the door to a big smell.

Maybe that's why the hugging thing bugs me. I don't want to know what scent the other person is wearing.

I do hug my brothers. But none of them wears cologne.

traditionalguy said...

I could always remember my maternal Grandmother from the only perfume she ever wore, generously. Many years later, when I would smell it somewhere, I would think about her. It turned out to be Chanel#5.

Palladian said...

"How about wearing too strong of a scent? Old Spice guys in the area used to irritate me..

My liberal fascist side comes out when I'm assaulted by perfume or cologne. If I were on the City Council in Berkeley or Madison, I would probably vote for a law banning the wearing of perfume or cologne in public areas. I can't use the excuse that I'm allergic. I just hate it if I can smell it from four feet away.

I like perfume, in small amounts, on women, preferably worn in bed or while dancing cheek to cheek. I don't want to open the door to a big smell."

Philistine.

Keep your filthy laws off my business.

skamom said...

Having just spent 15 hours with 50 8th graders touring our state capital, I can attest to the fact that you could ban hugging among students just to keep them moving along. Junior high students seem to waste an incredible amount of time, and take up an inordinate amount of space, hugging, poking, slapping and bumping each other.

Pogo said...

"take up an inordinate amount of space, hugging, poking, slapping and bumping each other"

Adolescents are barbarians.
They need a firm hand upside the headbone at times.

Joan said...

skamom:15 hours - !!!?

I hope for your sake that was a typo. Sounds like a heckuva field trip.

rhhardin said...

I made it through school without being hugged, and don't remember anybody else being hugged either.

rhhardin said...

Dogs can't hug, interestingly. Their arm joints are all wrong.

Evolutionarily, hugging appears to be unnecessary.

If the kids start using opposable thumbs you might want to watch out, however.

Ann Althouse said...

Aw, rh, I want to give you a hug.

MadisonMan said...

As I've told my kids, perfume/cologne is supposed to make you curious and lean in closer for a better whiff. You're not supposed to recoil in horror as your eyes water.

A little dab'll do ya.

GG said...

It's a hard line to draw...or a gray line to cross. I think it's - for the most part - fine. My siblings & friends and I hug more than my parents hugged their siblings & friends...I don't think I actually hugged my best friend until after high school when she was moving away. But nowadays it's just normal for kids and, well, everybody. Dropping my child off late at school, and seeing her hug a friend and then seeing her get a motherly hug from her teacher (she's in 3rd grade) is something I never ever would have done at 9. My Greek parents were never big on hugging, but I don't think that's a Greek thing, I think it's just changing times. We are more in touch with our personal need to connect and show affection to people we care about in our lives. I say LET THEM HUG!!! XOXO :)

Deb said...

I come from a long line of non-huggers. Family members hugged when there was a death in the family, or if you had not seen the person in a long time. As in years. Otherwise, a brief nod from across the room was sufficient.

I prefer the side hug to the full frontal.

Dorsai said...

Hugging is a gateway behavior--it seems harmless, but it can lead to harder stuff: conversation, bonding, even, sometimes, serious friendship. This sort of thing can affect a child for life.

Sean E said...

Same with all the other "zero tolerance" nonsense. Its stupid - but its protection against parents & their lawyers.Agreed. Often what looks like stupidity is just a rationale response to the stupidity of others.

M. Simon said...

This is High School right?

I think it calls for the two minute drill.

SaintCroix said...

Catherine Mackinnon is mentally ill. Instead of seeking psychiatric counseling, she invents sex harrassment law.

These rules--her illness--are dictated to anybody who has a job or goes to school. Sex is bad. Propositioning women is bad. Using rude language is bad.

And then they go after the huggers.

kentuckyliz said...

Like Trey, I know touching in general to be dicey and highly risky professionally. Counselors are trained not to touch. Easily misread by unstable people. Lawsuit city.

Sad.

But school getting involved in regulating this behavior? Nope. Takes away from kids learning to stand up for themselves and speak up and cope.

I'm busty so I've always had people wanting to hug me. I'm also tall so I can bend over and keep lots of daylight in there. I'm good at the little twist maneuver to make it a side half-hug, and the extended hand on approach to insert distance and make it a handshake and shoulder pat.

Everybody wants to smoosh up against my big mamajamas.

Matt said...

Thanks for using my video in your blog post! ((**HUGS**))

Extremo the Clown said...

People always wanna hug me...after all I am Extremo the Clown.

tariely said...

целебный электрошокер шажком