About a year and a half ago I wrote a post that included a story about a principal who instituted a "no hugging" policy at school, as the students were engaging in "hugging lines" and were being late to class. The principal went further, though, and explained when hugging is appropriate (airports, family reunions) and when it is not (frequent meetings in the hall at school). Her policy seemed narrowly tailored to fit the issue her school experienced, and I supported it.
Today, though, I received an email linking to this story, in which a Connecticut principal has banned any kind of contact between students.
"Observed behaviors of concern recently exhibited include kicking others in the groin area, grabbing and touching of others in personal areas, hugging and horseplay. Physical contact is prohibited to keep all students safe in the learning environment," Williams wrote.
Students and parents are outraged. They said the new policy means no high-fives and hugs, as well as horseplay of any kind. The consequences could be dire, Williams warned in the letter.
That doesn't seem reasonable at all. What's next, banning looking at other students? Perhaps, instead of attempting to remove humanity from students, the principal should explain what kind of reasonable behaviors are acceptable in a public setting like school, and punish only unreasonable behaviors. But no, we can't have that, because that would require the administrators to exercise some judgement. It's much easier to issue a blanket, stupid, rule, and enforce it to the nines.
I should create a category label called "administrative lobotomy", and put stories like this one in it.