Honor Student Suspended for Hug Is Victim of Insane War on PDA


hugFor someone who has been out of high school long enough to be past the 10-year reunion bump (and over the fact that I didn't want to go), I do an awful lot of thinking about bullying. Such is the life of a parent and parenting blogger both. But I think I'm finally starting to see a pattern.

You know what's come to light at the exact same moment that bullying has wormed its way into the national zeitgeist? The war on PDA in our schools. Kindergartners are getting kicked out for kissing. And now Nick Crescente, an honor roll student in Central Florida, has been suspended from high school for daring to reach his arms out and wrap a friend in a hug.

Suspended. For a hug. A hug that was not unwelcome or inappropriate. Just two arms around a buddy.

No wonder kids are so good at making each other feel like crap. They're not allowed to do the opposite!

Crescente's mom says the rules at his school are too general, and he shouldn't be suspended. But I wonder why the rules against hugging exist at all ... in any school.

As simple a gesture as it may be, a hug can go a long way toward making someone feel less alone, especially in the awkward teen years when a kid can't even recognize their own body, forget their self-esteem. But the hug has been caught up in this puritanical fear that any form of physical contact will immediately send these hormonal teenagers scurrying for the closest janitor's closet to get freak nasty. As a mother of a daughter, I'm all for preventing teen pregnancy.

But I'm not buying the whole "hug as gateway drug" spiel. I was a hugger in high school, exactly for the reason stated above -- I felt like crap about myself, and getting some arm action always made me feel better. I managed to keep my pants on quite nicely, thankyouverymuch.

The irony in all this is if you look at the root of bullying, many of the kids who lash out aren't evil at the core. They're miserable teenagers who see no way out, so they make do by making somebody else feel worse than they do. It's a circle, and one that could be broken if school administrators would set aside their fear of teens' emotions getting the best of them and treat kids like the fragile, developing creatures they are.

A boy who gives a girl a hug doesn't deserve to be suspended for it. He deserves a slap on the back for showing a little kindness in one of the last places any of us remember finding it.

Do you think hugging bans have a place in high school? Is this a suspension-worthy incident?


Image via Aunt Owwee/Flickr

school, sex


To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

MadMe... MadMerlotMama

He hugged a friend? Oh mah sweet merciful Jesus, does the CIA know? I mean, we have got a home grown terrorist on our hands, y'all. His weapon of choice is hugs. As we all know, hugs are highly dangerous, and capable of making someone smile--AND WE MUST NOT MAKE PEOPLE SMILE. If kids start smiling, what's next? Why, they could even start being nicer to each other. Can you fathom the horror of that? I, for one, will be writing my Congressman to inact a nation-wide band on these weapons of mass happiness.


Will you join me?

Kritika Kritika

I'm with you, MadMerlotMama.

Eques... EquestrianMom

I'm with you too! Goodness, I hugged everyone in high school. And middle school. And I still do! Sometimes a hug just says it all, I remeber being on a few competitive teams in school, welding was one, ffa judging teams, volley ball, debate, jazz band, and you know what? I loved hugging people! I hugged them when we did well, I hugged them when we didn't, I hugged them when I bombed a test, I hugged people when they got grounded and felt crappy. If I'd been suspended everytime I hugged someone, I never woulda been in school at all.

  The whole no contact rules are getting silly these days, and it will make those raging hormones worse, because kids won't know what to do with a freindly hug! 

 If that were my kid being suspended and there wasn't just cause (like had been repeatedly caught prior to hug in the janitors closet being naughty) I'd be raising all heck. IMO. 

nonmember avatar kimmie

My twelve year old daughter just got detention a few weeks ago for hugging a friend of hers in the hall at school. She has always been a very friendly person and is the one everyone goes to for cheering up. Now she is afraid to even touch anyone for fear of getting detention again. I think it is very unfair because from what I remember of school, we all needing hugging every once in a while. We did a lot of hugging and we all turned out just fine.

Kritika Kritika

Kids at school are bullying eachother, cutting eachother, shooting eachother and here kids are getting in trouble for embracing one another. Administrators really need to get their crap together...

Kaila... KailaCheyenne

I can't hug at my school either. In fact, if we're walking too close and our hands happen to be brushing against each others, we can get in trouble if they think it counts as hand holding. And I go to a public school. In the mornings before the warning bell rings the principal stands in the parking lot (depending on the weather) and if she catches you kissing someone, all hell breaks loose. It's ridiculous.

Courtney Paige Neale

Not at all!! As I was reading this I was thinking about all the times in high school when I really needed support and hugs from my friends and they gladly gave them to me. If you are having a bad day, there is nothing better then getting a great big hug from your friend.

Courtney Paige Neale

Kaila - that is terrible!! Man, you could not pay me enough to go back to high school!! Hope your a senior! Hang in there love.

Brandy Korach Durel

Just *another* reason to add to my list of really good reasons to keep home schooling my children. I am so glad that in this day my husband and I chose to keep our kids out of the "school system" and put him in a good home schooling group. The rules are getting out of this world ridiculous. 
I was always hugging my friends, giving high fives, holding hands with my BFF and boyfriend when I was in school... and guess what? I never once had sex until I was 19, in college and it was with the man who has now been my husband for almost 9 years. Hugging will not lead to students being inappropriate with one another nor will it promote teen pregnancy. My son is a hug machine and would probably be expelled by now for spreading a little kindness to his peers had he been put into the school system. So sad.

Sidthe Sidthe

Me 90% of my senior class and all of the football team homecoming week would be suspended for hugging!!! Haha oh well we'd call it senior skip week and party and at someone's house!!!

1-10 of 20 comments 12 Last