Oz students threatened with detention for hugging

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

MELBOURNE - Students of a primary school in Australia have been warned not to hug their friends, and have been told that if they did so they will face detention.

The move has infuriated parents of students at William Duncan State School in Nerang, with one saying it is political correctness gone mad.

“What on earth are we turning our kids into?” News.com.au quoted father of five, Ross Kouimanis, who labelled the decision “an absolute joke”, as asking.

“Kids hug all the time. My high school daughter hugs her friends. It’s perfectly normal. It’s perfectly innocent and I can’t understand it.

“It’s political correctness gone mad. Banning kids hugging? It’s ridiculous. What an absolute load of rubbish,” he stated.

Kouimanis’s daughter Emily was given a warning for hugging her best friend.

“My best friend and I confronted the teacher and she said it was a new school rule and some kids have been sent to detention for hugging,” Emily said.

“I think it’s so unfair - that’s how we say hello,” she stated.

Kouimanis said the school should be more worried about educating children and said the ban sexualised an innocent gesture.

University of Queensland School of Education Professor Robyn Gillies, who specialises in school guidance and counselling and behaviour in school, said she was surprised by the ban.

She said hugging, as long as it was not for extended periods, was acceptable and it appeared the school was being too restrictive.

“Maybe the school needs to embark on lessons as to when it is appropriate to hug and when it is not appropriate to hug,” she said.

Education Queensland South Coast Regional director Glen Hoppner said there was no EQ policy banning hugging in schools, and that some students did not appreciate having their personal space compromised.

Hoppner added the school principal was “unaware” of students being given detention for hugging. (ANI)

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