Hugging Ban Proposed By Maryland School District Draws Criticism

Hugging Ban Proposed By Maryland School District Draws Criticism

A hugging ban is being proposed by a Maryland school district in an attempt to make kids safer, but opponents have slammed the proposal as pointless.

The hugging ban is part of a slate of new safety rules proposed for St. Mary’s County schools in the wake of the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, in December. School officials said they wanted to cut down on the amount of “inappropriate touching” in school.

In the proposal, visitors would not be allowed to hug children.

“Other parents coming in and hugging other children” said Superintendent Michael Martirano. “The fact is that we want to make certain our teachers and our staff are trained in what’s defined as the appropriate touching of a student versus inappropriate touch of a student,” Martirano said.

The rule change came out of a committee of parents, principals, and school staff members tasked with making the schools safer. The local PTA president said the proposal is a work in progress, and the hugging ban could still be reworded.

The committee has proposed other safety measures beside the ban on hugging. One is a new system that requires visitors to check in by computer and have their pictures taken. While in the building they must wear the badge so school officials know who has permission to be there and who does not.

The committee also proposed banning homemade cupcakes for students’ birthdays.

Some people were very unhappy with the hugging ban. School board member Cathy Allen said the proposal is far too restrictive.

“The idea that you can’t go into a school and be hugged by a child, or go in to have lunch, or be out on the playground and that you can only push the swing for your child and for no one else” is unacceptable, she said.

The school district is still reviewing the hugging ban and other safety measures. If passed they would go into effect for the remainder of this school year.