MATAWAN, NEW JERSEY – There is a lot of confusion at Matawan-Aberdeen Middle School, where students say the principal made an unusual announcement last week.
“First, I heard over the loudspeaker ‘We are a no hugging school’ and we are…’This is our new policy,’” student John Carelli told CBS 2′s Cindy Hsu on Thursday.
Some of the students went home with stories about a hugging ban that if they hugged in school, they could be suspended.
Some parents, including Tammy Sabatini, who has had three kids attend the school, found the idea crazy.
“They’ve hugged forever since they were babies and now they’re being told they can’t do it,” Sabatini said.
“It’s stupid, I’ve never heard of such a thing. Why can’t you hug?” another parent told 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg. “That’s how we grew up, with affection. You hug, you kiss.”
“It’s kind of silly,” one man said. “When I was in middle school I hugged my friends — boys and girls. I don’t know what the big deal is.”
On Wednesday night, many parents received the following recorded message from the principal, trying to clarify things:
“Hugging can be inappropriate and we want to make sure that there’s no inappropriate physical contact. We certainly do not have a policy against hugging nor do we intend to or have we suspended students for hugging,” the message said.
The message went on to say the school wants the students to stay focused on academics. CBS 2′s Hsu tried to talk to the principal about the issue, but he had no comment. The school superintendent also had no comment.
“I just think it’s an outrage. It’s hugging. It’s not like it’s going to kill anyone,” said student Miranda Allen.
“If they can’t do it in school, they have plenty of time to hug their friends outside of school — when they’re home under the supervision of their parents, and when they’re in school, they can learn,” parent Deirdre Ring said.
So while there’s still a lot of confusion over the whole issue, students say they will keep on hugging off school grounds.