Hugging friends is equal to sexual harassment? What has replaced commonsense in school administrators these days? Risk aversion is one thing, defining a problem down to a list of “must not do” activities isn’t the way of solving it.
A 13-year-old junior high school student was given two days of detention after school officials spotted her hugging friends after school last Friday.
Megan Coulter, an eighth-grade student at Mascoutah Middle School, was hugging her friends goodbye after school Friday when vice principal, Randy Blakely, saw her and told her she would receive two after-school detentions.
The debate of public displays of affection in school is hitting home in Alabama. The mother of a student in Autauga County says her daughter was disciplined for simply hugging a friend.
And Autauga County isn’t the only one. Just last week, a school in Illinois disciplined a student for the very same thing. And a South Dakota student got in trouble for holding hands with a friend.
“It was made to be something ugly and it wasn’t,” Muir said.
She says the hug wasn’t meant to be sexual. She says her daughter was consoling a male friend who recently lost a parent.
Why is this happening? Well, blaming lawyers and our lawsuit happy society, is probably not inappropriate. But, there comes a time that the line needs to be refined so that, common everyday actions are not redefined as “sexual harassment.” What message is that sending to kids???
In 1999, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled schools could be held liable by ignoring claims of sexual harassment. Some say the ruling puts schools between a rock and a hard place. By not identifying all suspect behavior, they risk liability. But when they do, they often hear complaints from parents.
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