Viewpoint: Repeal ridiculous school restrictions against hugging

Schools are meant to keep their children safe, but one school district in Maryland has taken this duty too far.

St. Mary’s County school district has proposed a ban for elementary schools on hugs or pushing children on swings between parents and children who are not their own.

The idea is that what some parents deem acceptable is not so in other parents’ eyes. They have also banned sibling visits by siblings, passing out birthday invitations and homemade cupcakes.

How are these changes supposed to improve the safety of their schools? It sounds like a group of overprotective parents took over the committee that passed these new rules. In a time where school shootings are yearly, a hug ban is like putting a band-aid over a gaping wound. It doesn’t even make logical sense.

As far as I know, a parent hasn’t begun a killing spree by hugging a child that is not their own.

Furthermore, banning younger siblings from visiting alienates stay-at-home parents.

How can they visit their children during lunch or go to school parties if they can’t bring their younger children with them?

Admittedly, smaller children are disruptive. Even so, I don’t know if that is enough of a reason to ban them permanently from schools.

The ban on homemade cupcakes is at least a tiny bit understandable.

So many kids have allergies. To stay vigilant, teachers need to know what is in the food that comes in. However, children should be able to police themselves for food allergies and parents responsible enough to educate their own children what not to put in their mouths.

Teachers are responsible for the safety of the children while in their care. I just think that all these “precautions” are pure coddling.

Maybe it is because not long ago, I was a child myself. I think children aren’t given enough credit. They are smarter and more conscious of their decisions than many parents of this overprotective nature think. For example, last year, a 10-year-old, Clara Lazen, discovered a new molecule. That’s not even in the everyday work of a scientist.

In the case of birthday invitations, the district’s reasoning is debatable.

According to Kelly Hall, the district’s executive director of elementary schools, birthday invitations are seen as a disruption and a source of hurt feelings among students. I find it strange that their reasoning is hurt feelings when the ban on hugs and pushing swings could easily lead to hurt feelings.

Personally I think it’s all a part of growing up. Everyone gets his or her feelings hurt at some point. It’s like those soccer games where everyone wins. Those do not prepare children for the failures of life.

The harsh reality is that children will get hurt, but those experiences don’t necessarily have to be for naught. They can be character building. These bans are for the moment temporary. The school district is going to review the new policies this summer, after receiving parent feedback. Hopefully, some of this is thrown back out.

Ashley is a senior journalism major from Austin. She is a reporter for the Lariat.