A New Jersey middle school has banned hugging to prevent excessive physical contact between students.
Principal Tyler Blackmore declared Matawan Aberdeen Middle School a “no hugging school” last week.
On Thursday, David Healy, the superintendent of schools for the Matawan Aberdeen Regional School District, defended Blackmore, explaining that the restriction is a response to specific incidents that violated policies on “inappropriate relationships.”
“‘I have confidence in Mr Blackmore and his administrative team and believe that he acted in a responsible manner. We have a responsibility to teach children about appropriate interactions and about having a structured, academically focused environment,” Blackmore said.
“There is no policy specific to hugging and we have not [suspended,] nor will we be suspending, students for hugging.”
Healy wasn’t the only proponent of the new ban which applies to more than 900 11- to 14-year-olds. School district bus driver Holly Ramsay told local news WPIX:
“I think it’s a safe policy. Nobody can say something inappropriate has happened if they’re not allowed to do it at all.”
Not everyone, however, was in agreement with Matawan-Aberdeen’s decision to stop hugs.
Parent Tammy Sabatini told CBS New York that she was baffled that her three children, who all attend the school, can’t express their affection to one another.
Sabatini told the news agency:
“They’ve hugged forever since they were babies, and now they’re being told they can’t do it.”
More on the New Jersey Middle School hugging ban in the video below:
What do you think about Matawan-Aberdeen Middle School’s decision to ban hugging? Completely necessary or overreaction?