Monday, June 25, 2007

Protecting our children from contact

A Virginia middle school has passed a rule banning all touching.

Claiming that students aren't able to distinguish between the shades of grey involved in human contact, the principal decided that it would be best to simply forbid all touching-- including hugging, high fives, and handshakes.

A 13-year old boy was recently reprimanded for putting his arm around his girlfriend at lunch.


***

This one certainly gives abstinence-only sex-education a run for its money-- 14 year olds are having sex, yet we deny them human touch in the public sphere?

North America has become so consumed by fear that it seems logical to ban high fives to prevent the discomfort of improper touch. Even more disturbing is the notion that 13 and 14 year olds, who are held criminally accountable for their actions in a court of law, are infantalized so much in this context that the teachers don't even attempt to educate them in the shades of grey of what is and what is not appropriate contact. Rather, the issue is dichotimized to such an extreme as to almost represent all human contact as violent or sexual.

One of the most basic truths about humans is that physical contact is essential to our development. Somehow this basic tendency has been turned into something to be feared.

We are becoming captives in our personal bubbles when a handshake is seen as a threat.

11 comments:

Eve said...

That's insane! Human beings need touch!

What's next? Bags of rocks around the necks of the lithe? Vonnegut would probably have something to say about this...

Beth said...

How terrible and so very wrong.
Human touch is healing, a form of communication and an expression of love. We all need it - I don't think there's enough touching in the world.
I hope this fear doesn't spread.

eric313 said...

Vonnegut would indeed have been all up in the debate over a touchless society in training.
OK, OK, bad pop culture entandre.

Anyway, Princess, you sure can pick a topic. It is a sad thing, since there really isn't enough love to go around. Someone needs to make more, and soon.

Dorky Dad said...

Ah yes, another tale of a school gone COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY MAD.

Heart Of Darkness said...

This is scary - what else is scary is, our development has stagnated adn we're traveling back from "superhuman" into "neanderthal". People not being able to tell teh difference between a friendly hand-on-shoulder and a sexual invitation... *huga!*

In Sweden, the legal age for consentual sex is 15. Trust me, nobody waits - it's a game to beat that curphew as soon as possible. Being 13 and not have had sex is... well weird.

On the positive side: it never felt being a weirdo as good as in that matter! ;)

chris said...

When I was interviewing for grad schools, a girl I met was telling me that at her undergrad, if a boy and a girl were alone in the same room in a residence, they had to have at least 3 legs on the floor at all times.

I'm still not sure what that was meant to accomplish.

Ant said...

Bloody hell. I didn't click on the link but this isn't a catholic school by any chance? Being raised as such, I look back and think that sex education was an absolute farce: "It's wrong. Don't do it. Nuff said." was the general principle. This seems similar - an inability, or maybe even a fearful laziness, in trying to think through the problem, and to educate and inform.

You do pick cracking topics Princess.

LMizzle said...

Wow, that's as crazy as telling your kids that you can get pregnant by kissing!

benjibopper said...

on a related yet unrelated note, i recently read that parents tend to wean boys off cuddling much younger than they do girls. kinda sad.

Psycgirl said...

Umm... I think you should say "America" not "North America"....

Ultra Toast Mosha God said...

Madness, they call it madness