David Snyder

Whole Child Blogwatch: Touchy Schools

A school that bans hugs? File this under crazy-but-basically-true: Motherlode picks up on the story of East Shore Middle School in Milford, Conn., which has issued a "no-touch" policy in the wake of an incident in which a student was taken to the emergency room after suffering a kick to the groin.

Admittedly, this is a serious incident, but the school's response has some parents and students up in arms. The principal sent a letter stating that "observed behaviors of concern recently exhibited include kicking others in the groin area, grabbing and touching of others in personal areas, hugging and horseplay. Physical contact is prohibited to keep all students safe in the learning environment."

One voice of protest is the blog Free-Range Kids: "Maybe it's all part of this weird, 'Protect children from everything, at any cost, no matter how small the threat and no matter how ridiculous the imposition' society we're in." A Motherlode commenter adds, "Episodes like this reflect school administrators who have simply given up on being able to think for themselves and apply common sense."

Clearly, schools face a difficult task in protecting kids from physical harm. But what happens to kids' emotional health when all touching—even high fives, some kids report—is outlawed?

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