Just when you thought solutions to what should be minor problems couldn’t get any more absurd, Kilmer Middle School in Vienna, Virginia, has decided to institute an absolute ban on physical contact.
Why, one might ask? Well, because of overcrowding and behavior problems, of course!
Deborah Hernandez, Kilmer's principal, said the rule makes sense in a school that was built for 850 students but houses 1,100. She said that students should have their personal space protected and that many lack the maturity to understand what is acceptable or welcome.
"You get into shades of gray," Hernandez said. "The kids say, 'If he can high-five, then I can do this.' "
Right. And it’s the job of adults to use discretion and good sense to stop the “this” that’s disruptive and allow the “high-five” that’s not instead of instituting absurd absolutes to make it easier on incompetent teachers and administrators who want to cover their derrieres.
A hug may be a handshake from the heart, but neither form of platonic affection is allowed at Kilmer. Seventh-grader Hal Beaulieu found that out after getting busted for briefly hugging his girlfriend during lunch. Big no-no.
A review of the policy might be on the way, but here’s an idea: how about parents get to choose the school that works for their child? That way we could have schools without physical contact for the Puritanical or law-and-order types, and hug-fest schools for the “visualize world peace” folks.
Education tax credits are a great way to expand that choice for parents in Virginia. And they would also solve the overcrowding problem that Principal Hernandez mentions . . . I’m sure at least 250 students would happily transfer to a hugging-allowed school if they had a tax credit program to help them make that choice.