Kid Kicked Out Of School For Hugging
Florida school has strict 'no hugging' policy
A 14-year-old middle school student was suspended as a result of a Florida school’s strict no-hugging policy.
The student, Nick Martinez, said he hugged his best friend, a female student, quickly between classes, according to WKMG-TV, Orlando. The principal at Southwest Middle School in Palm Bay saw the hug and brought the two students to the dean, who issued a one-day in-school suspension.
“Honestly, I didn’t know, because I didn’t think hugging was a bad thing. I didn’t know you could get suspended for it,” Martinez told WKMG-TV. “A lot of friends are hugging. I just happened to be the one caught doing it.”
According to the school’s student handbook, students can be penalized for hugging or hand-holding with either a dean’s detention or suspension. Kissing calls for a one-day out-of-school suspension.
The school’s handbook doesn’t distinguish between an inappropriate hug—which could constitute harassment—and a mutual, friendly hug.
“We cannot make an opinion or judgment call on whether a hug is appropriate or not. It’s very difficult to police that on campus,” Christine Davis, the public information officer for Brevard County Public Schools, told ABC News.
Davis said the school puts policies and procedures in place to help keep the students focused on learning.
As it stands, the school has no plans to change the policy.
Martinez’s mother, Nancy Crescente, was outraged to learn her son had been suspended for the “mutual hug.” She told WKMG-TV that she would ask the board to change the policy and fight to have her son’s suspension scrubbed from his record.