While walking the halls of a middle school or attending a school event, it is common to see kids hugging. However, for one school in New Jersey, it will not be so commonplace.
Principal Tyler Blackmore of Matawan-Aberdeen Middle School took action after what he felt was an unacceptable level of physical interaction within his school. Last week, Blackmore took to the loudspeaker to announce to students that their school was a “no hugging” school.
Superintendent David Healy clarified to 101.5 New Jersey that Blackmore was reacting to a number of incidents at the school and wanted to abate potential problems before they escalated. Blackmore wants students to keep their focus on academics without unnecessary distractions. Healy further explained, “Mr. Blackmore felt it best for the good of the school and the orderly operation of his building to quell the behavior before it escalated into a problem particularly with among other things the heightened awareness and reporting of (HIB) harassment, intimidation and bullying.”
CBS 2 New York reports that parents were notified via a phone message on Wednesday evening. The recorded message expressed, “Hugging can be inappropriate and we want to make sure that there’s no inappropriate physical contact. We certainly do not have a policy against hugging nor do we intend to or have we suspended students for hugging.”
Blackmore’s recent announcement has left students and parents a little perplexed and wondering why hugging would spark such action.
Tammy Sabatini, a parent with three children at the school, told CBS 2, “They’ve hugged forever since they were babies and now they’re being told they can’t do it.”
Student Miranda Allen also told CBS2, “I just think it’s an outrage. It’s hugging. It’s not like it’s going to kill anyone.”
In a statement issued Thursday night, Healy explained that the district already had policies in effect concerning bullying, inappropriate relationships, and inappropriate conduct. Healy is a little mystified by all of the attention the situation has received considering these policies have already been on the books. The Matawan-Aberdeen Patch reports that Healy fully supports Blackmore and believes that he acted in a responsible manner.