No hugging in school! The discussion on my show this afternoon was sparked by this e-mail from listener Melissa Coulter:

Do you hug your child? Do you teach them to give a hug to help another through a rough day? Well, if you live in the Mascoutah Community School District, you’d better not!

Picture it…Friday afternoon, 3:20pm… 

You are a 13yo girl. You and your friends are separating for the weekend. You give a friend a hug on his way to the bus. The vice principal tells you that you were warned the week before and now you have detention. So you are turning to go home and another friend comes up to you and hugs you and, of course, the vice principal sees and now you have TWO, yes that’s right TWO, after school detentions.

It’s called Public Display of Affection and there are NO exceptions here. Yes, it’s in the student handbook but not as hugging. There are no specifications so those of us who thought it meant kissing, holding hands, etc. were way off base.

There is no room in the Mascoutah School District for understanding or caring. I tried talking to the vice principal, Mr. Blakely, who is as compassionate as a fence post. I left a message for the superintendent, Dr. McGowan, which is thus far unanswered. This school district is spiraling out of control in the hands of an administration that is high-handed and closed-minded.

I am hoping that someone will help me get through to them because they don’t want to listen or explain their views. They just want us to fork over the tax money and keep quiet. Well, I’m tired of that!

Melissa and I talked about this stunning zero-tolerance rule on my show today, with lots of listener calls, including a couple of teachers who work in schools with similar rules. What’s remarkable is the inability of administrators to discern the difference between what is and isn’t appropriate.

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