Is this normal in Jr High school?

Megan_in_WVJanuary 28, 2002

My son is only in the second grade, so I know I have a few more years until he is in Jr High, but I heard something that sounds SO stupid to me, and I'm just wanting to see if this is the 'norm'.

We live in a very small town in WV--very low crime rate--maybe one murder every few years (and usually some kind of domestic fight--or a bar fight that ends up in murder). Anyway the policy of our Jr High is that the students can't touch one another at all! Not even a touch on the arm! Now I'm sorry but I think this is ridiculous! I'm just wanting to know if this 'no touching' rule is in most schools?

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I am familiar with a similar policy at Antioch College in Ohio - where one person would literally have to 'ask' to get permission to touch, kiss, etc. the other person (say, if you were dating). To me, it's taking the issue a little too far.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2002 at 8:47PM
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That's not the rule at my daughter's middle school. They draw the line on pda (public display of affection), but touching is not prohibited.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2002 at 8:58PM
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WELL!! I do not remember if that was the way it was when my kids were there just a few years ago--but I worked in the cafeteria on a HS campus a few years ago----and it was gross the way they just about did the dirty pretzel right there in front of God and everybody!! So if no touching can stop that I would vote for it!!! If you think about it where can they draw the line? OK! You can hold hands-stand this close-maybe put your arm around them at the waist--I mean who is going to monitor all this--just no touching at all is easier!! I know it sounds extreme-but where do you draw the line??? Kids will push it all to the limit! JMHO

    Bookmark   January 28, 2002 at 11:25PM
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Well since my son and I both are a 'touchy feel' kind of person it will be very hard for him to do this. I will give a friend a squeeze of the hand or touch someones arm--etc. What if a friend is having a bad day--is a hug a terrible thing? Anytime a student touches another student in any way its an automatic violation.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2002 at 8:50AM
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I wouldn't worry about it just yet - you never know, the policy could be revoked or something by the time he reaches that age.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2002 at 9:28AM
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I am a teacher and here in Nebraska we do have rules about public affection, but certainly not about touching other students. That seems a little extreme.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2002 at 1:39PM
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No touching is about as simple, and literal a rule as could exist. It sounds extreme, but the point is to teach people to 'keep their hands to themselves' and perhaps to help the idea that people have the basic human right to want (or to decline) being touched by others. In school, or in life in general, some people do not comprehend abstract or nonconcrete instructions. They may not be 'disabled' per se, but it still is a useful thing to simplify and make concrete any rules.

In the world, junior high, or in life in general there are all kinds of unwritten social rules. People who are truly gifted and adept will notice and 'just know' when touching is ok and when not, and with whom and under what nebulous circumstances. There is no one rule to encompass it all. It is simpler, and probably more useful in all kinds of terms if people could learn as a basic stance to not touch others unless invited to explicitly. (The socially adept example was the 'good' one. There are people who have that talent but who will exploit or otherwise not mean well by a person when they touch them. These people can end up deliberately blurring boundaries and causing real problems for themselves and for the people they touch 'innocently' or 'ignorantly.')

I'd like to see it in more schools. The people who abuse what they see as their right to touch anyone they want when they want are also likely to try to 'negotiate' how their touching was somehow not covered by whatever the rule is. No touching is a good way to prevent that. (Plus, for friends who are socially adept with each other they can usually touch the arm touch in other nonproblematic ways. If there is a problem in that case, the school can be responsive and it can usually be shown that there is or is not a problem with unwanted touching).

    Bookmark   January 29, 2002 at 3:24PM
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That rule seems very strange and unnatural to me also. Do you know how that rule came about? How could kids play sports without touching each other? If I were in your shoes, I would consider looking for another school for my child.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2002 at 7:20PM
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I grew up in Morgantown, WV and went to Jr High in the late 80's there. Maybe that rule is a backlash to my generation, because back then (and probably still now) I was groped and harassed on a daily basis. It was awful, but this was before people, parents and teachers would make sexual harassement charges against students in schools. I think it's my generation (graduated in 92) that caused alot of schools to adopt all kinds of "no tolerance policies". Unfortunately, many of the rules have gone too far. Schools are trying to avoid liability and parental litigation. Hopefully by the time your son gets there, things will relax. There needs to be a happy medium. Kids that age need a healthy outlet for their emotions and hormones. They shouldn't be severly punished for minor actions their bodies make when their minds have a hard time controlling them. As for finding another school, you know as well as I that in WV, you don't have much choice.

Good Luck!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2002 at 1:26AM
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Gretchen, nothing like that ever happened to me or my younger sister in school, but we live in a much small place than Morgantown. Anyway, there is only one other school he could go to, it is a Christian school, which would be great --but I've heard too many bad reports on the curriculum. So that is out. Oh well, maybe by the time he gets in things will lighten up some. I just feel that schools are turning more into a 'jail'.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2002 at 7:48AM
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Hi Megan,
I can relate to what you're saying. I grew up and went to school in a small town just outside Clarksburg. I think the schools are starting to really be against any form of contact between students. Gretchen, I too had the same problem with unwanted touches and I know how violated I felt. I graduated in 91 and back then you could practically yell rape and no one would come to your aide at school. The idea was "Boys will be boys". I think it's terrible for touching to be banned completely though, because there were some days that I'm not quite sure how I would have made it through without a comforting hug, an arm around my shoulder, a shoulder to cry on or just a pat on the back.

It's human nature to touch and to deny a child of that is ridiculous. I believe in respecting another person's personal space but there is a HUGE difference between violating someone, PDA and just being friendly. Why don't they just handcuff and shackle the kids as they get off the school bus? Sheeesh.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2002 at 11:33PM
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> Anyway the policy of our Jr High is that the students can't touch one another at all!
> Not even a touch on the arm!

If nothing else, it should make this school's football games interesting...

    Bookmark   February 14, 2002 at 12:12AM
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My daughter is in middle school and the same rules apply, but it is not followed. I see it all the time when I go pick her up and hear the stories about this friend got kissed today and ect. Don't worry, kids ALWAYS find ways around rules. I don't think its a bad rule. I raised 4 kids and the schools should have been more strict when it came to letting the kids skip classes or sneak a smoke.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2002 at 8:19AM
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I enforced this rule in my classroom, but it wasn't due to public displays of affection. I taught in a vioelnt area where fist fights would break out between parents on the parking lot and on field trips. We enforced the no touching rule to try to prevent touching incidents that would lead to fights.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2002 at 2:22PM
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